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Early voyages to the Pacific— Interest in behalf of the people excited by the 
published accounts — Formation of the Missionary Society— Sailing of the 
Duff— Arrival off Tahiti — Notice of a Roman Catholic mission— Opinion 
of Captain Cook on the formation of a settlement in Tahiti -Cession of 
Matavai— Departure of the Duff— Influence of the mechanic arts on the 
minds of the people— Comparative estimate of iron and gold- Difficulties 
attending the acquisition of an unwritten language Methods adopted by (he 
missionaries— Propensity to theft among the natives — Efforts to prevent 
human sacrifices and infant murder — Resolution of the missionaries rela 
tive to the use of firearms. 



Arrival of the first ship after the DufTs departure — Assault upon the mission- 
aries—Its disastrous consequences — Pomare's revenge — Death of Oripam — 
league against Pomare — Invasion of Matavai — Description and character 
of Haamanemane— His assassination — Murder of Mr. Lewis — Pomare's 
offering for the mission chapel — Arrival of a king's ship — Friendly commu- 
nications from the governor of New South Wales — Government orders — 
Act of Parliament lor the protection of the South Sea islanders — Arrival of 
the Royal Admiral— Landing of the missionaries — Departure of Mr. Brootn- 
uall — Notice of his subsequent history. 



First preaching in the native language — National council in Atehuru — Seizure 
of the idol Oro— Rebellion of the Oropa— Introduction of useful foreign fruits 
and vegetables — Providential arrival of two vessels — Battle of fare— King's 
camp attacked. Oro retaken — Mission-house garrisoned with seamen, .fee. — 
Desolation of the war — Death of the king's brother — Ravagesol' foreign dis- 
eases — Death of Pomare — Sketch of his character — Otu assumes the name 
of his late father— Origin of the regal name — Efforts to instruct the children 
— Death ol'the queen — Compilation of the first spelling-book— First school 
for teaching reading and writing— Arrival of the Hawkesbury— Death of 
Mr. Jefferson — Mr. Nott's visit to the leeward islands — Rebellion in Matavai 
—Defeat of the king— Departure of the majority of the missionaries — 
Abandonment of the mission. 



The Church of jesu* Christ of Latter-day Salnti 




Conduct of the rebels — Discouraging impressions under which the mission- 
aries abandonedthe islands— Invitation from Pornare 10 return— State of the 
king's mind during hie exile in Euneo — His reception of the missionaries — 
Death of three of their number— Influence of domestic bereavement on the 
missionary life — Pomare's profession of Christianity— Application for bap- 
tism — Demonstration of the impotency of their idols — Proposal to erect a 
place of worship — Extracts from li is correspondence— Influence of his steady 
adherence to Christianity — Kidnule and persecution to which he was 
exposed — Visit of missionaries to Tahiti — Valley of Hautaua — Oitu and 



First record of the names of the professors of Christianity— Taaroarii's rejection 

of idolatrous ceremonies — Determination of Path, the priest of Papetoai 

Idols publicly burnt at Uaeva, in Eimeo — Increase of the scholars — Con- 
tempt anil persecution on account of the profession of Christianity - Baneful 
influence of idolatry on social luterc urse — Humiliating circumstances to 
which its institutes reduced the female sex — Happy change in domestic 
society attending the introduction of Christianity — I'ersecution of the Chris- 
tians — Worshippers of the true God sought as victims for sacrifice to the 
pagan idols — Notice of Aberaharna— Martyrdom in Tahiti. 



Distillation of ardent spirits — Description of a native still — Materials employed 
in distillation — Murderous effects of intoxication — Seizure of the Queen 
Charlotte— Murder of the officers — Escape of Mr. Shelly — Seizure of the 
Daphne— Massacre oi the captain and part of the crew — Public triumph over 
idolatry in Eimeo— Visit of the queen and her sister to Tahiti -Emblems 
of the gods committed to the flames— Account of Karcfau — Projected assas- 
sination of the Bure Atua — Manner of their escape — War in Tahiti — Po- 
mare's tour of Eimeo. 



The refugees in Eimeo invited tn return to Tahiti— Voyage of the king and his 
adherents — Opposition to their landing— Public worship on the Sabbath dis- 
turbed by the idolatrous army — Courage of the king — Circumstances of the 
battle of Bunaaula— Death of the idolatrous clueflain — Victory of the Chris- 
tians—Clemency of the king and chiefs— Destruction of the image, temple, 
and altars of Oro — Total subversion of paganism — General reception of 
Christianity — Consequent alteration in the circumstances of the people — 
Pomare's prayer— Tidings of the victory conveyed to Eimeo— Visits to 




Conductor the leeward island chiefs — Hostilities in the island of Raiatea— 
Subversion of idolatry in Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, and Uorabora— General 
reception of Christianity in the Society Islands— Abolition of the Areoi 
society— Arrival of Mr. Crook— Pomare's family idols sent to England — 
Translation of the king's letter — Conduct of the missionaries — Accounts of 
their labours and success— Inquiries suggested by the change — Remarks on 
the time, circumstances, means, and agents connected with the establish- 
ment of Christianity — The missionaries not Unitarians. 



Arrival in the South Sea islands— Anchorage in Matavai— Visit from Pomare — 
Landing his horoe — Interview witb the queen and princess — Asionishment 
of the natives on viewing the horse and his rider — Voyage to Eimeo— 
Opunohu, or Taloo harbour— Landing at Eimeo— Welcome from the 
natives— First night on shore— Present from the chiefs — Visit to the 
schools — First Sabbath in the islands— Description of the native chapel — 
Appearance and behaviour of native congregations — Vo\age to Afareaitu — 
Native meal— Description of Afareaitu — Removal thither — Means of con- 
veyance — Arrival at the station. 



Erection of a printing-office— Increased demand for books — Establishment 
of the printing-press— Eager anticipations of the people — First printing in 
the island done by the king — Materials employed in binding native books — 
Printing the Gospel of St. Luke — Liberal aid from the British and Foreign 
Bible Society — Influence of the process of printing, &c. on the minds of the 
people— Visit of a party of natives from the eastern archipelago — Distribu- 
tion of elementary books— Desire of the inhabitants for the Scriptures — 
Applicants from different islands— Estimation in which the Scriptures are 
held — Influence of the press in the nation — Number of works printed. 



Arrival of missionaries from England— Building and launching of the Haweia 
— Reoccupation of Matavai — New stations in Tahiti -Journeys across the 
interior of Eimeo — Village of Tamai — Retrospect of labour at Afareaitu — 
Honesty of the people — Departure from Eimeo — Voyage to the Society 
Islands — Appearance of Huahine — Fa-re harbour and surrounding country 
— Accommodations on shore— State of the inhabitants of Huahine — Com- 
mencement of missionary labours— Influence of presents on the people. 




Arrivals in Huahine— Support of the mission— Formation of the Tahitian 
Missionary Society— Place of meeting — Speech of the king — Formation of 
a society in Huahine— Establishment of the mission in Raiatea— Descrip- 
tion of the district of Fa-re — Erection of dwellings— Preaching in the native 
language— Indolence of the South Sea islanders— Means adopted for the 
encouragement of industry — Cotton plantation— Disappointment in returns 
— Arrival of Mr. Gyles— Introduction of the art of making sugar, &c. — Visit 
to Tahiti— Sugar plantations and mills in the leeward islands— Introduc- 
tion of cofl'ee from Norfolk Island— Culture and preparation of tobacco for 



Renewed endeavours to promote industry among the people— Arrival of 
Messrs. Blossom andArmitage — Establishment of the cotton-factory— First 
cloth made in Euneo — Prospects of success — Death of Mrs. Orsmond — 
Voyage to Raiatea — Sudden approach of a storm— Conduct of the natives — 
Appearance of waterspouts — Emotions awakened by the surrounding phe- 
nomena—Effects of waierspouts on the minds of tlie natives— Conduct of a 
party overtaken by one at sea— Deliverance during a voyage from the Sand- 
wich Islands — Abatement of l he storm— Arrival at Raiatea— Kindness of 
the inhabitants — District of Opoa — Visit to the settlement — Importance of 
eduoalion — Methods of instruction— Sabbath-schools— Annual examination 
of the scholars— Public procession — Contrast between the present and for- 
mer circumstances of the children. 



Voyage to Raiatea — Landing at Tipaemau— Description of the islands — Arri- 
val at Va6aara — Singular reception — Native salutations — Improvement of 
the settlement — General state of society — Former modes of living — Proposed 
improvement in the native dwellings — Method of procuring lime from the 
coral-rock — First plastered house in the South Sea islands— Progress of 
improvement— Irregularity of the buildings— Public road— Effect on the 
surrounding country — Duration of native habitations — Building for public 
worship — Division of public labour — Manner of fitting up the interior — 
Satisfaction of the people— Chapel in Raiatea— Native chandeliers— Evening 



Schools erected in Huahine— Historical facts connected with the site of the 
former building— Account of Mai (Omai)— His visit to England with Cap- 
tain Furneux— Society to which he was introduced — Objects of his attention 
— Granville Sharp — His return with Captain Cook — Settlement in Huahine 
— His suhsenuent conduct — Present proprietors of the Beritani in Huahine 
— House for hidden prayer — Cowper's lines on Omai — Royal mission chapel 
in Tahiti — Its dimensions, furniture, and appearance — Motives of the king 
in its erection — Description of native chapels— Need of clocks and bells — 
Means resorted to for supplying their deficiency— Attendance on public 




Improved circumstances of the females — Instruction in needlework — Intro- 
duction of European clothing — Its influence upon the people — Frequent 
singularity of their appearance — Development of parental affection — In- 
creased demand for British manufactures— Native hats and bonnets — Rea- 
sons for encouraging a desire for European dress, <Scc. — Sabbath in the 
South Sea islands — Occupations of the preceding day— Early morning 
prayer-meetings — Sabbath-schools — Order of divine service— School exer- 
cises—Contrast with idolatrous worship. 



Public assemblies during the week— Questional and conversational meetings 
— Topics discussed — The seat of the thoughts and affectioas— Duty of 
prayer — Scripture biography and history — The first parents of mankind — 
Paradise — Origin of moral evil— Satanic influence — A future state — Condi- 
tion of those who had died idolaters— The Sabbath — Inquiries respecting 
England — The doctrine of the resurrection — Anxiety to possess genuine 
Chris<ian experience. 


Cession of Matavai to face the Vignette Title. 

Vignette Title. 

Map of the Georgian and Society Islands page 1 



Early voyages to the Pacific— Interest in behalf of the people excited by the 
published accounts— Formation of the Missionary Society— Sailing of the 
Duff— Arrival off Tahiti — Notice of a Roman Catholic mission— Opinion 
of Captain Cook on the formation of a settlement in Tahiti — Cession of 
Matavai— Departure of the Duff— Influence of the mechanic arts on the 
minds of the people— Comparative estimate of iron and gold— Difficulties 
attending the acquisition of an unwritten language— Methods adopted by the 
missionaries— Propensity to theft among the natives — Efforts to prevent 
human sacrifices and infant murder— Resolution of the missionaries rela- 
tive to the use of firearms. 

The circumstances of the South Sea islanders, their 
habits, institutions, ceremonies, &c, described in the 
preceding volume, represent the state of the inhabitants 
of Tahiti and the adjacent isles at the time of their 
discovery, and during a period antecedent to this, the 
extent of which it is not easy to ascertain. Such, also, 
was their state, without any other alteration than a 
knowledge of the use of firearms produced, for a num- 
ber of years after the visits of Wallis, Cook, and Bligh. 
Accident, so far as Captain Wallis was concerned, made 
us acquainted with their existence. The advancement 
of knowledge, the benefit of those interested in scientific 
research in Britain and Europe, not the communication 
of the light of science to the uninformed inhabitants, 
prompted the successive visits which Captain Cook paid 
to their shores. The improvement of our West India 
colonies, by transplanting thither the most valuable 
indigenous productions of Tahiti, rather than a desire to 
impart to the inhabitants a knowledge of the arts and 
comforts of civilized life, led Captain Bligh to their 
shores ; and purposes of justice his successors. The 
improvement of native society, and, above all, the com- 
munication of the Christian religion to the people, does 
not appear to have been thought of either by those who 
A 3 


directed or performed the early voyages to the South 
Sea islands. These visits were, however, in the 
arrangements of Him who ordereth all things after the 
counsel of his own will, preparing the way for this in a 
manner which those by whom they were made neither 
designed nor anticipated. 

Without admitting the existence of a power, alike 
at variance with common sense and religion, in virtue 
of which the pope authorized the commanders from 
Spain and Portugal to seize any country they might 
discover, for the purpose of bringing its plundered 
inhabitants within the pale of Christendom, or approv- 
ing the proceedings of those who acted upon such 
authority; their object, the conversion of the idolaters, 
was one that must commend itself to every enlightened 
Christian; and their ardour was frequently proportioned 
to the importance they attached to the enterprise. This 
was conspicuous in the conduct of many of the voyagers 
of the sixteenth century, and presents them in striking 
contrast with their successors. Papists have often 
adduced the indifference of Protestants to the propaga- 
tion of their faith as a proof of their heresy : yet sup- 
posing that many of the Portuguese and Spanish dis- 
coverers, who were Catholics, to have believed that 
their own was the true faith ; while we commend their 
zeal, we cannot but condemn the violence and absurdity 
of their proceedings, in forcing what they called Chris- 
tianity upon the tribes they discovered.* 

The published accounts of the voyages from Britain 
to the South Seas, in the latter part of the eighteenth 
century, produced a strong feeling of wonder and 

* In this respect, few appear to have exceeded the first who traversed the 
Pacific — the adventurous Magellan. At Zebu, one of the Philippines, " the 
admiral (Magellan) persuaded the king, queen, and princes to embrace the 
Christian faith, which they did wilh pleasure. Firing of cannon and great 
solemnity attended their baptism, at which the king received the name of 
Charles, and the prince that of Fernando. In eight days the inhabitants of 
the island, with the exception of one district, were made Christians. In order 
to punish those who refused, the Spaniards burnt their village, and built a 
cross upon its ruins. In order to show the good effects of Christianity, a 
miraculous cure was wrought upon the king's brother at his baptism. The 
admiral pawned hie head lor his immediale recovery, should he receive bap- 
tism, and break his idols : he saved his head ; the prince perfectly recovering 
soon after being thus inilia ed m the Christian religion. At Buihan he gave 
the chief a banner with a cross and crown of thorns painted on it, made his 
people worship it, and directed him to set it on a high mountain, as atoken of 
good entertainment for Christians, and a means of national safely ; stating that, 
if devoutly prayed to, it would protect them from lighlning and tempest." — 
Abridged from Magellan's Voyage, in Callander's Collection of Voyages, 
vol. i. p. 91, 93. 


delight, and excited considerable interest in behalf of 
the inhabitants of the remote and isolated regions. 
Among those whose regards for the people were 
awakened, the late excellent Countess-dowager of 
Huntingdon was exceedingly solicitous that efforts 
should be made to convey to them a knowledge of the 
Christian religion. So strong was her desire on this 
subject, that she is said to have left it with the late Dr. 
Haweis as her dying charge that he would attempt to 
accomplish it. About the same time, the publication 
of Letters on Missions, by the Rev. Melville Home, 
directed the attention of British Christians to this sub- 
ject ; and, in 1795, a society, including among its 
founders and supporters liberal and enlightened minis- 
ters of the established church and dissenters, was 
formed, under the designation of the Missionary So- 
ciety : its object was to send the gospel to heathen and 
other unenlightened nations. At the earnest recom- 
mendation of the late Rev. Dr. Haweis and others, the 
then newly-discovered islands of the South Sea were 
selected as the first scene of its exertions ; and thirty 
individuals, who had volunteered their services, engaged 
to attempt the establishment of missionary settlements 
in the Marquesan, Society, and Friendly Islands. 

On the 10th of August, 1796, they embarked in the 
Thames on board the Duff, a vessel which had been 
purchased to convey them to their destinations. This 
ship was under the command of Capt. James Wilson, 
who had retired, after a perilous and honourable career 
in the service of the Hon. East India Company, but who 
now generously offered to conduct the distant and 
adventurous voyage. On the 23d of September follow- 
ing they took their final departure from Portsmouth. 
Their voyage, though protracted, was safe, and not 
unpleasant ; and on the 4th of March, 1797, they had the 
satisfaction of beholding the high land of Tahiti in the 
distant horizon. 

On the 7th of March, 1797, the missionaries went on 
shore, and were met on the beach by the late Pomare 
and his queen, then called Otoo and Tetua ; by them 
they were kindly welcomed, as well as by Paitia, an 
aged chief of the district. They were conducted to a 
large oval-shaped native house, which had been but 
recently finished for Captain Bligh, whom the natives 
expected to return. This building the king and chiefs 
presented to the strangers as their dwelling: it was 


pleasantly situated on the western side of the river, 
near the extremity of Point Venus. To reclaim the 
inhabitants from superstition, to impart to them the 
truths of revelation, and to improve their present con- 
dition, were the objects that had brought them to Tahiti. 
How little such an event had been anticipated by rapt. 
Wilson's predecessors we may learn from the testimony 
of Captain Cook. Speaking of the departure of the 
Spanish missionaries, and the prospect of any future 
European establishment in the islands, he observes, " It 
is very unlikely that any measure of this kind should 
ever be seriously thought of, as it can neither serve the 
purpose of public ambition nor private avarice ; and 
without such inducements, I may pronounce that it will 
never be undertaken."* — The Datives were delighted to 
behold foreigners coming to take up their permanent 
residence among them ; as those they had heretofore 
seen had been transient visiters, with the exception of 
the Spanish missionaries and their attendants, and a 
Spaniard who had saved his life by escaping from 
I.angara's ship, while it was lying at anchor off Vaiarua, 
in Taiarabu, in March, 1773 ; at which time three of his 
shipmates were executed. 

From a Spanish account of Chiloe, &c, published in 
1791, it appears that, in 1772, two ships, sent by the 
Viceroy of Peru to survey the islands of the Pacific, 
visili (1 Tahiti, and conveyed to Peru two natives, who 
were baptized there, and sent back, in 1774, with two 
Roman Catholic missionaries. A house of wood was 
erected for these missionaries, near the shore of Vaita- 
pelta Bay, in Taiarapu. " Before the ships departed, 
the Spanish commander called a meeting of the chiefs, 
who had taken the missionaries under their protection, 
described the grandeur of his sovereign, and informed 
them of his right to all the islands. The natives (the 
account says) demonstrated much complaisance, and, 
by acclamation, acknowledged the King of Spain king 
of Otaheite and all the islands." 

In January, 1775, the ships returned, taking two other 
natives with them.f The missionaries do not seem to 
have held much, if any, intercourse with the people; they 
remained about ten months in the island, w hen the ships 
in which they had arrived returned, and they embarked 
for Lima. When Captain Cook visited Taiarapu, in 

* Cook's Tliinl Voyage, vol. ii. p. 77. 

t Barney's Hist, of Voyages and Discoveries, vol. iv. p. 570. 


1777, he saw the house which they had left; it was 
divided into two rooms ; loop-holes " were cut all 
around, which served as air-holes, and perhaps might 
be meant to fire from with muskets."* A wooden cross, 
inscribed with " Christus vincit et Carolus III. imperat, 
1774," stood in front of the house, and near it was the 
grave of the commander of one of (he ships, who died 
in 1774. The Spaniards left hogs, goats, and dogs on 
the island ; and, so far as these have proved serviceable 
to the people, their mission was beneficial. 

When the missionaries from England, who had now 
arrived, landed from the Duff, the chiefs and people were 
not satisfied with giving them the large and commodious 
Fare Beritani (British house), as they called the one 
they had built for Bligh, but readily and cheerfully 
ceded to Captain Wilson and the missionaries, in an offi- 
cial and formal manner, the whole district of Matavai, 
in which their habitation was situated. The late Po- 
mare and his queen, with Otoo his father, and Idia his 
mother, and the most influential persons in the nation, 
were present, and Haamanemane, an aged chief of itaia- 
tea, and high-priest of Tahiti, was the principal agent 
for the natives on the occasion. The frontispiece, 
representing this singular transaction, is taken from 
an original painting in the possession of Mrs. Wilson, 
relict of the late Captain Wilson. It exhibits, not only 
the rich luxuriance of the scenery, but the complexion, 
expression, dress, and tattooing of the natives, with 
remarkable fidelity and spirit. The two figures on 
men's shoulders are the late king and queen. Near the 
queen, on the right, stands Peter the Swede, their 
interpreter, and behind him stands ldia, the mother of 
the king. The person seated on the right-hand is Pai- 
tia, the chief of the district : behind him stand Mr. and 
Mrs. Henry, Mr. Jefferson, and others. The principal 
person on this side is Captain Wilson; between him and 
his nephew, Mr. W. Wilson, stands a child of Mr. Has- 
sel; M>-s. Hassel with an infant is before them. On the 
left, next to the king, stands his father Pomare, the 
upper part of his body uncovered in homage to his son, 
and behind him is Hapai, the king's grandfather. Haa- 
manemane, the high-priest, appears in a crouching posi- 
tion, addressing Captain Wilson, and surrendering the 

* Cook's Third Voyage, vol. ii. p. 12. 


district. — Haamanemane was also the taw, or friend, of 
Captain Wilson ; and rendered him considerable service, 
in procuring supplies, facilitating the settlement of the 
mission, and accomplishing other objects of his visit. 

Presentations of this kind were not uncommon 
among the islanders as a compliment, or matter of 
courtesy, to a visiter ; and were regulated by the rank 
and means of the donors, or the dignity of the guests. 
Houses, plantations, districts, and even whole islands 
were sometimes presented ; still, those who thus re- 
ceived them never thought of appropriating them to 
their own use, and excluding their original proprietors, 
any more than a visiter in England, who should be told 
by his host to make himself perfectly at home, and to do 
as lie would if he were in his own house, would, from 
this declaration, think of altering the apartments of the 
house, or removing from it any part of its furniture. It 
is, however, probable, that such was their estimate of 
the advantages that would result from the residence 
of the mission families among them that, in order to 
afford every facility for the accomplishment of an ob- 
ject so desirable, and impart confidence to the mission- 
aries as to their support, they were sincere in thus ced- 
ing the district. They might wish them to reside in it, 
exercise the office of chiefs over the whole, cultivate as 
much of it as they desired, and receive tribute from 
those who might occupy the remaining parts ; but by 
no means perpetually to alienate it from the king or 
chief to whom it originally belonged. This they knew 
could not be done without their permission, and that 
permission they could at any time withhold. In 1801, 
when the Royal Admiral arrived, Pomare was asked, 
when the missionaries were introduced to him, if they 
were still to consider the district as theirs ; and though 
he replied in the affirmative, and even asked if they 
wished the inhabitants to remove, it afterward appeared 
that the natives considered them only as tenants at 
will. All that the settlers ever desired was the perma^ 
nent occupation of the ground on which their dwellings 
and gardens were situated ; yet, in writing to the so- 
ciety, in 1804, they remark, in reference to the district, 
" The inhabitants do not consider the district, nor any 
part of it, as belonging to us, except the small sandy 
spot we occupy with our dwellings and gardens ; and 
even as to that, there are persons who claim the ground 


as theirs." Whatever advantages the king or chiefs 
might expect to derive from this settlement on the 
island, they were not influenced by any desire to receive 
general or religious instruction. This was evident, 
from a speech once made by Haamanemane, who said 
that they gave the people plenty of the parau (word) 
talk and prayer, but very few knives, axes, scissors, or 
cloth. These, however, were soon afterward amply 
supplied. A wish to possess such property, and to 
receive the assistance of the Europeans in the exercise 
of the mechanic arts, or in their wars, was probably the 
motive by whicli the natives were most strongly in- 

Captain Wilson was, however, happy to find the king, 
chiefs, and people so willing to receive the missionaries, 
and so friendly towards them ; and the latter being 
now settled with seeming comfort in their new sphere 
of labour, the Duff sailed for the Friendly Islands on the 
26th of March. 

Having landed ten missionaries at Tongatabu, in the 
Friendly Islands, Captain Wilson visited and surveyed 
several of the Marquesan Islands, and left Mr. Crook, a 
missionary, there ; he then returned to Tahiti, and on 
the 6th of July the Duff again anchored in Matavai Bay. 
The health of the missionaries had not been affected by 
the climate. The conduct of the natives during his ab- 
sence had been friendly and respectful, and supplies in 
abundance had been furnished. While the ship remained 
at Tahiti, Mr. W. Wilson made the tour of the island; 
the iron, tools, and other supplies for the mission were 
landed: the missionaries and their friends on board, 
having spent a month in agreeable intercourse, now 
affectionately bade each other farewell. Dr. Gilham, 
having intimated to the captain his wish to return 10 
England, was taken on board, and the Duff finally sailed 
from Matavai on the 4th of August, 1797. 

The missionaries returning from the ship, as well as 
those on shore, watched her course as she slowly re- 
ceded from their view, under no ordinary sensations. 
They now felt that they were cut off from all but Divine 
guidance, protection, and support, and had parted with 
those by whose counsels and presence they had been 
assisted in entering upon their labours, but whom on 
earth they did not expect to meet again. Captain Wil- 
son coasted along the south and western shores ofHua- 


nine, and then sailed to Tongatabu ; where, after spend- 
ing twenty days with the missionaries, who appeared 
comfortably settled, he sailed for Canton, where he re- 
ceived a cargo, with which he returned to England, and 
arrived safely in the Thames ; having completed his 
perilous voyage under circumstances adapted to afford 
the highest satisfaction, and to excite the sincerest 
gratitude from all who were interested in the success 
of the important enterprise. 

The departure of the Duff did not occasion any dimi- 
nution in the attention of the natives to the mission- 
aries in Tahiti. Pomare, Otu, Haamanemane, Paitia, 
and other chiefs continued to manifest the truest friend- 
ship, and liberally supplied them with such articles as 
the island afforded. An soon, therefore, as they had 
made the habitation furnished by the people for their 
accommodation in any degree comfortable, they com- 
menced with energy their important work. 

Their acquaintance with the most useful of the me- 
chanic arts not only delighted the natives, but raised the 
mil Bionaries in their estimation, and led them to desire 
their friendship. This was strikingly evinced on several 
occasions; when they beheld them use their carpenters' 
tools, cut with a saw a number of boards out of a tree 
which they had never thought it possible to split into 
more than two, and make, with these, chests and articles 
of furniture. They beheld with pleasure and surprise 
the daily progress in the building of a boat, upwards of 
twenty feet long, and six tons burden, which was ulti- 
mately finished , but when the blacksmith's shop was 
erected, and the forge and anvil were first employed on 
their shores, they were filled with astonishment. They 
had long been acquainted with the properties and uses 
of iron, having procured some from the natives of a 
neighbouring island,* where a Dutch vessel, the African 
Galley, belonging to Roggewein's squadron, had been 
wrecked in 1722, upwards of forty years before they 
were visited by Captain Wallis. When the heated iron 
was hammered on the anvil, and the sparks flew among 
them, they fancied it was spitting at them, and were 
frightened, as they also were with the hissing occasioned 

* Probably Kin<r Oeor<re's, or one of the islands in its immediate vicinity, as 
Commodore Byron found at tins place a piece of iron and ol brass, u Inch were 
supposed to have been procured from the wreck. — Uawkesworiu/s Voyage, 
vol. i. p. 102. 

pomare's ADMIRATION' of the blacksmith. 17 

by immersing it in water; yet they were delighted to 
see the facility with which a bar of iron was thus con- 
verted into hatchets, adzes, fish-spears, fish-hooks, &c. 
Pomare, entering one day when the blacksmith was em- 
ployed, after gazing a few minutes at the work, was so 
transported at what he saw, that he caught up the smith 
in his arms, and, unmindful of the dirt and perspiration 
inseparable from his occupation, most cordially embraced 
him, and saluted him, according to the custom of his 
country, by touching noses. Iron tools they considered 
the most valuable articles they could possess ; and a 
circumstance that occurred during the second visit of 
the Duff will decisively show the comparative value 
they placed upon gold and iron. The ship's cook had 
lost his axe, and Captain Wilson gave him ten guineas 
to try to purchase one from the natives, supposing that 
the intercourse already had with Europeans would 
enable them to form some estimate of the value of a 
guinea, and the number of articles they could procure 
with it from any other ship that might visit the island; 
but although the cook kept the guineas more than a 
week, he could meet with no individual among the 
natives who would part with an axe, or even a hatchet, 
in exchange for them. 

While some of the missionaries were employed in the 
exercise of those arts which were adapted to make the 
most powerful impression upon the minds of the natives, 
others were equally diligent in exploring the adjacent 
country, planting the seeds they had brought with them 
from Europe and Brazil, and studiously endeavouring to 
gain an acquaintance with the native language, which 
they considered essential to the accomplishment of 
their objects. In this opinion they were correct ; for 
whatever qualification a man may possess, unless he 
manifests application and ability sufficient to acquire 
the language of those among whom he labours, he will 
make but a very inefficient teacher. 

The language was altogether oral ; consequently, 
neither alphabet, spelling-book, grammar, nor dictionary 
existed, and its acquisition was a most laborious and 
tedious undertaking. On their arrival they found two 
Swedes, Peter Hagersteine and Andrew Cornelius Lind ; 
the former had been wrecked in the Matilda, and the 
latter had been left by Captain New of the Daedalus, 
only a few years before the missionaries arrived. Peter 


had a slight knowledge of the colloquial language of the 
natives ; and in all their early communications with the 
chiefs and people the missionaries were glad to avail 
themselves of his aid as interpreter. He was a man 
of low education and bad principles ; and if he did not 
intentionahy misrepresent the communications of the 
missionaries, his statements must often have conveyed 
to the minds of the natives very erroneous impressions 
of their sentiments and wishes. From him, as an in- 
structed they derived no advantage; as he seldom came 
near them, excepting when he bore some message from 
the king, or the chief with whom he resided. The 
remarks of former voyagers, and the specimens of the 
language they had given, were of little service, as they 
could only be the names of the principal persons and 
things that had come under the notice of such individ- 
uals, and even in the representation of these the orthog- 
raphy was as various as the writers had been numerous. 
In reference to their attempts to acquire the knowledge 
of Tahitian, they remarked that they found all Europeans 
who had visited Tahiti had mistaken the language as to 
spelling, pronunciation, and ease of acquisition. In ad- 
dition to the printed specimens, they had a small vocab- 
ulary, compiled by one of the officers of the mutineers 
in the Bounty, who had resided some months in Tahiti 
prior to the arrival of the Pandora ; when he was arrested 
and brought a prisoner to England, where he was exe- 
cuted at Portsmouth. This vocabulary he left with the 
worthy clergyman who attended him in his confinement, 
and by him it was kindly given to the missionaries, who 
found it more useful than every aid besides. On their 
voyage they had carefully studied it ; but though they 
were thus put in possession of a number of words, in 
their proper collocation they discovered that they had 
every thing to learn. They had arranged a number of 
words in sentences according to the English idiom, 
which they supposed would be serviceable on landing ; 
but the use of which they soon found it necessary to 
discontinue. One of these sentences, Mily po tuaana, 
often afterward amused the king, when he came to 
know what they intended by it. Mattai is good, po is 
night, and tuaana brother. Good-night, brother, was 
the sentiment intended ; but if the natives understood 
the English word mighty, it would mean, Mighty night, 
brother ; or, if they understood mity as their word maitai, 


the phrase would be an assertion to this effect — Good 
(is the) night, brother. The simple declaration, Good- 
night, brother, would be unintelligible to the Tahitians, 
though the language wore correct ; a corresponding wish 
among them would be, la ora na oe i teie nei po — " May 
you have peace or life this night."' This circumstance 
"shows the difficulties they had to contend with, even 
when they had acquired the meaning of many of the 
substantives and adjectives in the language. 

In these embarrassments they had no elementary 
books to consult, no preceptors to whom they could 
apply, but were frequently obliged, by gestures, signs, 
and other contrivances, to seek the desired information 
from the natives; who often misunderstood the purport 
of their questions, and whose answers must as often 
have been unintelligible to the missionaries. A know- 
ledge of the language was, however, indispensable ; and 
many of the missionaries employed much of their time 
in making excursions through the neighbouring districts, 
spending several days together with the chiefs at their 
own habitations, for the purpose of observing their cus- 
toms, and obtaining an acquaintance with the words 
which they employed in social intercourse. This was 
the more necessary as the natives who reside in those 
parts visited by shipping soon pick up a few of the most 
common English phrases, which they assimilate as 
much as possible to the native idiom, and apply almost 
indiscriminately, supposing they are thereby better 
understood than they would be if they used only native 
words ; yet these words are so changed in a native's 
mouth, who cannot sound any sibilant, or many of our 
consonants, and who must also introduce a vowel be- 
tween every double consonant, that no Englishman 
would recognise them as his own, but would write them 
down as native words. Pickaninny is a specimen of 
this kind. 

It was not in words only, but also in their applica- 
tion, that the most ludicrous mistakes were made by the 
people. " Oli mani," a corruption of the English words 
" old man," is the common term for any thing old ; hence 
a blunt, broken knife, and a threadbare or ragged dress, 
are called " oli mani." A captain of a ship at anchor 
in one of the harbours was once inquiring of a native 
something about his wife, who was sitting by. The 
man readily answered his question, and concluded by 
saying, " Oli mani hoi," she is " also an old man." 


Part of each day was by several devoted to the study 
of the language, while once a week the whole met to- 
gether for conversation and mutual aid. The only 
means they had of obtaining it was by observing care- 
fully the native sounds of words, and then writing down 
the characters by which they were expressed. Jn this 
they found great difficulty, from what generally proves 
a source of perplexity to a learner in his first attempt 
at understanding a foreign tongue, viz. the rapidity with 
which the natives appeared to speak, and the want of 
divisions between the words. The singular fact of most 
of their syllables consisting of a consonant and a vowel, 
and a vowel always terminating both their syllables 
and their words, increased their embarrassment in this 

It was a circumstance highly advantageous to the mis- 
sionaries that the Tahitians were remarkably loquacious, 
often spending hours in conversation, however trivial 
its topics, patiently listening to inquiries, and anxious 
to make themselves intelligible. Although among them- 
selves accustomed to hear critically, and to ridicule 
with great effect, any of their own countrymen who 
should use a wrong word, mispronounce or place the 
accent erroneously on the one they used, yet they sel- 
dom laughed at the mistakes of the newly-arrived resi- 
dents. On the contrary, they endeavoured to correct 
them in the most friendly manner, and were evidently 
desirous that the foreigners should be able to under- 
stand their language, and convey their own ideas to 
them with distinctness and perspicuity. 

When the missionaries heard the natives make use 
of a word or sentence with which they were not already 
acquainted, they wrote it down, and repeated distinctly 
several times what they had written. If the natives 
affirmed that the word or sentence was correctly pro- 
nounced by the missionary, it was left for more careful 
and deliberate investigation. 

Sometimes they endeavoured to find out words by 
presenting to the natives different combinations of the 
letters of their alphabet : thus, they would pronounce 
the letters a a, and say, " What is that?" The natives 
would answer by pointing to the fibrous roots of a tree, 
or the matted fibres round the cocoanut-stalk, which are 
called aa. They would then pronounce others, as a i, 


and ask what it meant ; the natives, putting their hand 
to the back of the neck, and repeating ai, told them that 
that part of the body was thus called. By this means 
they sometimes discovered the meaning of a variety of 
words which they did not before know were even parts 
of the language. In speaking of their progress shortly 
after they had commenced this department of labour, 
they observe, " We have already joined some thousands 
of words together, and believe some thousands yet 
remain." Still their progress was but slow, and one of 
them, who has perhaps made himself most familiar with 
the native tongue, has frequently assured me he was 
ten years on the island before he knew the meaning of 
the word ahiri, corresponding to the English word if, 
used only in connexion with the past tense of the verb 
to have, as, " If I had seen," &c. 

While the missionaries were thus employed, the 
chiefs continued friendly and attentive ; the people, 
however, began to manifest that propensity to theft 
which they evinced even on the first visits they received. 
This obliged the Europeans to watch very narrowly 
their property. Clothing and iron tools appeared to 
be most earnestly sought ; and, notwithstanding the 
measures of security which they adopted, their black- 
smith's shop was robbed by a native, who dug two or 
three feet into the ground on the outside, and, burrow- 
ing his way under the wall or side of the house, came 
up through the earthen floor within, and stole several 
valuable articles. 

Their increased acquaintance with the people had 
awakened their deepest commiseration, when they be- 
held them not only wholly given to idolatry, and mad 
after their idols, but sunk to the lowest state of moral 
degradation and consequent wretchedness. This fur- 
nished a powerful incentive to energetic perseverance 
in the acquisition of the language, that they might 
speedily instruct them in the principles of Christianity, 
and thereby elevate their moral character, and improve 
their present circumstances. 

The Tahitian was the first Polynesian language re- 
duced to writing. In acquiring a knowledge of its 
character and peculiarities and reducing it to a regular 
system, the missionaries had to proceed alone. In 
adapting letters to its sounds, forming its orthography, 
and exhibiting the vernacular tongue in writing to the 


people, presenting- to the eye that which had before 
been applied only to the ear, and thus furnishing a vehi- 
cle by which light and knowledge might be conveyed 
through a new avenue to the mind, they were unaided 
by the labours of any who had preceded them, and 
•were therefore the pioneers of those who might follow. 
That their difficulties were great must be already ob- 
vious. They advanced with deliberation and care ; and 
though the Tahitian dialect, as written by them, is 
doubtless imperfect, and susceptible of great improve- 
ment, the circumstance of its having formed the basis 
of those subsequently written, the ease with which it is 
acquired, and the facility with which it is used by the 
natives themselves, are evidences of its accuracy and 
its utility. 

The missionaries have been charged with affectation 
in their orthography, &c. : but so far from this, they 
have studied nothing with more attention than simpli- 
city and perspicuity. The declaration and the pronun- 
ciation of the natives formed their only rule in fixing 
the spelling of proper names, as well as other parts of 
the language. They aimed at precision, and, having 
adopted the English character, affixed to each letter a 
distinct and invariable sound. The letters of each word 
constitute the word, so that a person pronouncing the 
letters used in spelling a word would, in fact, pronounce 
the word itself. Pursuing this plan, they were under 
the necessity of presenting to the natives a mode of 
spelling different from that which had been given to 
Europeans in the narratives of early voyagers. They 
did this reluctantly. Their early associations and 
strongest predilections were all in favour of Otaheite, 
Ulitea, Otahaa, &c, names which English voyagers had 
given to the scenes and persons they describe ; and it 
was only from the firm conviction that such were not 
their native designations that they adopted others. The 
orthography of Bougainville, who visited Tahiti in 1768, 
about twelve months after its discovery by Wallis, they 
found to approximate nearer the native sounds than that 
which Captain Cook and his companions afterward fol- 
lowed. The principal island Bougainville called Taiti, 
and his designations of other islands greatly resemble 
those given them by the people. In adjusting the spell- 
ing they have adopted they did not follow any former 
visiter, but, having fixed their alphabet, they have inva- 


riably endeavoured, as accurately as possible, to express 
the names the natives use. 

The missionaries sought an early opportunity to un- 
fold to the rulers of the nation the objects of their 
mission, and, after several disappointments, held a public 
interview with Pomare, Otu, and other principal chiefs, 
in which they stated as distinctly as possible, through 
the medium of Peter Hagerstien, as interpreter, their 
design in coming to reside among them ; viz. to instruct 
them in useful arts, teach them reading and writing, and 
make known to them the only true God, and the way 
to happiness in a future state ; urging the discontinuance 
of human sacrifices, and the abolition of infanticide. As 
an inducement to compliance with this last request, 
they offered to build a house for the accommodation of 
the children that might be spared, whom they promised 
to nurse with attention equal to that which they paid to 
their own. The chiefs and people listened attentively 
to their proposal, appeared pleased, and said no more 
children should be murdered. It was, however, only a 

The distressing circumstances under which this un- 
natural and revolting crime was practised, and the awful 
extent to which it prevailed, was one of the first of the 
many horrid cruelties filling these " dark places" of 
paganism that deeply affected them. More than once, 
having received intimation of the murderous purpose of 
the parents, they had, when the period of child-birth 
drew nigh, used all their influence to dissuade them from 
its execution, offering, as a reward for this act of com- 
mon humanity, articles highly valued by them. When 
these had failed to move the parents' hearts, and they 
could obtain no promise from either the father or 
mother that they would spare the child, the wives of 
the missionaries have, as a last resort, begged that the 
infant, instead of being destroyed, might be committed 
to their care. But the people were so much under the 
slavish influence of custom that, with one or two 
exceptions, their efforts were unavailing, and the guilty 
murderers have in a few days presented themselves at 
the missionary dwellings, not only with most affecting 
insensibility, but apparently with all the impudence of 
guilty exultation. 

The persons and the habitations of the missionaries 
had hitherto been secure, excepting from petty thefts ; 


they were, however, occasionally alarmed by rumours 
of war. Haamanemane had formerly requested their 
aid in a descent he intended to make upon Raiatea, for 
the recovery of his authority there ; but this they had 
firmly declined. The pilfering habits of the people 
rendered it necessary for them to watch their property 
during the night ; and the unsettled state of political 
affairs in the island, indicating their exposure to the 
consequences of actual war, led them to consider the 
line of conduct it would be their duty under such cir- 
cumstances to pursue. They were in the possession 
of firearms, which they had brought on shore solely 
with a view to intimidate the natives, and deter any 
who, unrestrained by the influence of the chiefs who 
had guarantied their protection, might be disposed to 
attack them. The propriety of their using firearms 
was, however, questioned by some, and discussed by the 
whole body; who publicly agreed that it was not their 
duty even to inflict punishment upon those that might 
be detected in stealing their property, but to complain 
to their chiefs ; and that they could take no part, even 
with their friends, in any of their wars. They resolved 
that their arms should be used for defence only, in the 
event of an attack being made upon their habitations; 
and not even then, until every means of avoiding it had 
been employed. Some of the missionaries carried their 
principles of forbearance so far as to declare that, but 
for the exposure of the females, even then it would 
not be right to have recourse to arms. Such were the 
views of the missionaries, and the circumstances of the 
people, when an event transpired which altogether 
altered the aspect of affairs in reference to the mission. 



Arrival of the first ship after the DufTs departure — Assault rjpon the mission- 
aries—Its disastrous consequences — Pomare's revenge — Death of Onpaia — 
I-eague against I'omare — Invasion of Matavai — Description and character 
of Haainanemaue — His assassination Murder of Mr. Lewis — Pomare's 
offering lor the mission chapel — Arrival of a king's ship— Friendly commu- 
nications from the governor of New South Wales— Government orders — 
Act of Parliament lor the protection of ilu- Zenith Sea islanders — Arrival of 
the Royal Admiral— Landing of the missionaries — Departure of Mr. Urooin- 
hali — Notice of his subsequent hisiory. 

On the 6th of March, 1798, exactly twelve months 
from the day on which the Duff first anchored in Mata- 
vai Bay, a vessel arrived at Tahiti; which, being the 
first they had seen since t he departure of Captain Wilson, 
excited considerable interest. She was boarded by 
three of the missionaries at the mouth of the harbour, 
and found to lie' the .Nautilus from .Macao, commanded 
by Captain Bishop, and originally bound to the north- 
west coast of America for furs. Being driven by a 
heavy gale to Kamtschatka, and unable to pursue her 
intended voyage, she had altered her course for Massue- 
fero, near the South American coast, but had been com- 
pelled by stress of weather to steer for Tahiti. The 
ship was in great distress, the crew in want of most of 
the necessaries of life, and the captain had nothing to 
barter witli the natives for supplies but muskets and 
powder. These indeed were formerly the only articles 
of trade, with the exception of ardent spirits, that many 
adventurers ever thought of giving to uncivilized nations 
in exchange for the produce of their countries! The 
natives crowded the ship; and Pomare, who was on 
board, beheld with expressions of contempt the poverty 
of the vessel, and the distress of her crew. In the 
minds of the missionaries their circumstances awakened 
compassion, and they readily offered to furnish the 
captain, so far as their means admitted, with such sup- 
plies as the island afforded, and to assist him in procuring 

The Nautilus had touched at the Sandwich Islands, 
and had brought away some of the natives : while the 

Vol. II.— B 


vessel remained, five of these absconded ; one was 
brought back, but escaped again. The vessel remained 
five days at Tahiti, procured such supplies as the crew 
were most in need of, and ultimately sailed, leaving the 
five Sandwich islanders on shore. 

Exactly a fortnight after her departure, this vessel 
again entered Matavai Bay, much to the surprise of the 
missionaries, who were informed by the captain and 
supercargo that, in consequence of a severe gale off 
Huahine, she was unfitted for her voyage to Massuefero, 
and that they intended to proceed to Port Jackson, win n 
they had increased their supplies. In the course of the 
night, two seamen absconded with the ship's boat; and 
the next morning the captain and supercargo addressed 
a letter to the missionaries, acquainting them with the 
desertion of the men ; and their determination, in con- 
sequence of their deficiency of hands, to recover them, 
cost what it would ; soliciting, at the Bame tunc aid in 
effecting their apprehension. The missionaries recov- 
ered the boat on the following day; and, anxious to 
afford the captain and supercargo of the .Nautilus every 
assistance in their power, agreed to use their influence 
with the king and two of the principal chiefs to induce 
them to send the seamen on board. Four of the mis- 
sionaries went on this errand to the district of Pare, 
where the king and chiefs were residing. After walk- 
ing between two and three hours, they reached the 
residence of Otu, the young king. The Sandwich island- 
ers were among his attendants, and they had reason to 
suspect that he had favoured the concealment of the 

D-. sirous of disclosing their business to the chiefs 
when together, they remained near the residence of 
Otu some time, expecting the arrival of Pomare, for 
whom they had sent. The king was sullen and taci- 
turn; and after remaining nearly half an hour expect- 
ing Pomare, the missionaries departed to wait on him 
personally at his own dwelling. 

As they passed along, the natives tendered their 
usual salutations, and about thirty accompanied them. 
They had, however, scarcely proceeded a mile on their 
way, when, on approaching the margin of a river, they 
were each suddenly seized by a number of natives, who 
stripped them, dragged two of them through the river, 
attempted to drown them, and, after other ill-treatment, 


threatened them with murder. After recovering from 
the struggle, they were in a most pitiable state, de- 
prived of their clothing, and some of them severely- 
bruised. Several of the natives now came forward, 
and expressed their pity for the missionaries, gave 
them a few strips of cloth, and, at their request, con- 
ducted them to Pomare and Idia, whose tent was at 
some distance. These individuals beheld them with 
great concern; and, expressing no ordinary sympathy 
in their distress, immediately furnished them with na- 
tive apparel and refreshment ; and, when they had rested 
about an hour, accompanied them on their return to 
Matavai. When they reached Otu's dwelling, Pomarc 
called the king his son into the outer court, and ques- 
tioned him as to the treatment the missionaries had 
received. He said but little ; yet there was reason to 
suppose, that if the assault had not been made by his 
direction, he was privy to it. Bent on the conquest of 
the whole island, and desirous, in conjunction with 
those attached to his interests, of depriving his father 
and younger brother of all authority in Tahiti, muskets 
and powder were articles in greatest demand, and the aid 
of Europeans was most earnestly desired. The mis- 
sionaries, by furnishing supplies to the vessel, had pre- 
vented his obtaining the former; and in order to be re- 
venged on them for this act of friendship to those on 
board, he had allowed some of his men to follow and 
to plunder them. They had not communicated to him 
their business, but their having applied for the return 
of the Sandwich islanders, who had before absconded 
from the vessel, led him to suspect their business on 
the present occasion. The seamen who had deserted 
from the Nautilus were under the protection of the 
king, and appeared among his attendants. The mis- 
sionaries did not disclose the object of their visit; but 
Pomare insisted on the deserters being delivered up, 
assuring them they should be carried on board the next 
day. The seamen expressed their determination to 
remain; and one of them said, "If they take me on 
board again, they shall take me on board dead." The 
conduct of Pomare, the king's father, with that of his 
queen ldia, was highly commendable ; several of the 
articles of dress which had been taken from the mis- 
sionaries were restored, and the people in general ap- 
peared to compassionate them ; though two of them 
B 2 


heard the natives who were stripping them remark 
that, as they had four of them in their possession, they 
would go and take the fourteen remaining at Matavai. 
In the evening the missionaries arrived at their dwell- 
ing, having been furnished by Pomare with a double 
canoe for their conveyance. 

The impression this unpleasant occurrence produced 
upon the society at Matavai was such, that eleven mis- 
sionaries, including four who were married, judged a 
removal from the island to be necessary ; and as the 
captain and supercargo of the Nautilus offered a pas- 
sage to any who were desirous of returning to Port 
Jackson, they prepared for their departure. Two days 
after the plunder of the missionaries, I'omare, anxious 
to remove all apprehension from their mind, sent the 
chief priest of the island with a foul as an atonement, 
ami a young plantain as a peace-offering, and on the 
following day hastened to their dwelling. 

The report of the departure of the missionaries soon 
spread through the island, and appeared to be regretted 
by many of the people. Pomare, who had ever been 
most friendly, manifested unusual sorrow, and used ex- 
traordinary efforts to persuade them to stay, lie went 
through every room in their house, and every berth on 
board, and addressed each individual by name, with 
earnest entreaties to remain, and assurances of pro- 
tection. Noti, eiaha 6 haere, Mr. Nott, don't go, was 
his language to that individual ; and such was also used 
to others. His evident satisfaction was proportionate 
when he perceived that Mr. anil Mrs. Eyre and five 
of the -single missionaries resolved to continue in 

On the 29th of March, those missionaries who in- 
tended to leave bade their companions farewell ; and, 
during the night Of the 30th, sailed from Matavai. and 
proceeded to New South Wales. It is worthy of re- 
mark, that this event, so destructive to the strength of 
the mission, crippling the efforts of its members, and 
spreading a cloud over their future prospects, resulted 
not from any opposition to the efforts of the mission- 
aries, nor from any dispute between them and the 
priests or people on subjects connected with the idol- 
atry of the latter, but from their benevolent endeavours 
to serve those whom purposes of commerce had brought 
to their shores, and whom adverse weather had reduced 


to circumstances of distress — a class of individuals 
whom the missionaries in those seas have ever been 
ready to succour, but who, with some gratifying excep- 
tions, have not always honourably requited that kind- 
ness to which, in some instances, they have owed their 
own preservation. 

The decision of those who left Tahiti may to some, 
perhaps, appear premature, but it is not easy to form a 
correct estimate of the dangers to which they were 
exposed. They were well aware of many ; but there 
were others actually existing of which they were then 
unconscious. Otu, called Pomare since his father's 
death, has often, during the latter years of his life, 
told Mr. Nott, that, after the departure of the Duff, fre- 
quently, when he has been earned on men's shoulders 
round the residence of the missionaries, Peter the 
Swede, who has been with him, has said, when the 
missionaries were kneeling down in prayer at their 
morning or evening family worship, " See, they are all 
down ou their knees, quite defenceless; how easily 
your people might rush upon them and kill them all, 
and then their property would be yours." And it is a 
melancholy fact, that the influence of unprincipled and 
profligate foreigners has been more fatal to the mis- 
sionaries, more demoralizing to the natives, more inim- 
ical to the introduction of Christianity, and more op- 
posed to its establishment, than all the prejudices of the 
people in favour of idolatry, and all the attachment of 
the priests to the interest of their gods. 

However much those who remained might have been 
affected by the departure of so many of their com- 
panions, they felt no disposition to abandon the field, 
or relax their endeavours for the benefit of the people. 
Pomare had not only sent an atonement and a peace- 
offering, but, even before the missionaries sailed, had 
made war upon the district, and had killed two of the 
men who had been engaged in assaulting them. This 
was, indeed, a matter of regret to the missionaries; 
but it was also an evidence of his displeasure at the 
treatment they had received. On his assurances of 
protection, those who remained reposed the most entire 
confidence ; which, during his subsequent life, his con- 
duct uniformly warranted. Committing their persons 
to the merciful and watchful providence of God, and, 
under him, to the friendly chiefs who had manifested 


ho much concern for their safety, they had sent all the 
firearms, ammunition, and other weapons possessed by 
the society on board the Nautilus, excepting two mus- 
kets, which they presented to Pomare and Idia. To 
the former they gave up their public stores, and all the 
property they possessed, together with the smith's 
shop, and the tools. They also offered Pomare their 
private property, but he refused to take it; informing 
them, that so long as they remained, every thing in the 
store-room should be at their command ; but that in 
the event of their leaving the island, he should consider 
whatever remained as Ins own. < )n a subsequent oc- 
casion, when he feared that, on account of a destruc- 
tive war then prevailing, they might leave, he directed 
them to take their property with them ; hereby evin- 
cing the most disinterested friendship, and a desire to 
alleviate, rather than profit by their distresses. Their 
situation was critical, but m a letter which they for- 
warded on this occasion to the society, they expressed 
firm confidence in God, unabated attachment to their 
work, and contentment with such means of support as 
the country afforded. 

Not long after the departure of the Nautilus, it was 
reported that, in order to avenge the death of the two 
men he had killed, the people of Pare had declared 
war against Pomare. He applied to the missionaries 
for assistance, and, entering the room in which they 
were assembled, inquired how many of them knew how 
to make war. Mr. Nott replied, M We know nothing 
of war." Pomare withdrew, and they afterward 
agreed not to resort to the use of arms either for 
offence or defence. Their determination was made 
known to their friends ; and, as no dissatisfaction ap- 
peared, they were led to hope that they should be per- 
mitted peaceably to prosecute their labours, without 
any further solicitation on the subject. A native who 
had assisted in the smith's shop was enabled, after the 
departure of the missionaries who had used the forge, 
to make fish-hooks, adzes, and a number of useful iron 
articles; but the skill he had acquired, instead of being 
employed to promote the industry, civilization, and 
comfort of his countrymen, was soon applied to pur- 
poses of barbarity and murder ; and the missionaries 
beheld with regret that he was often employed, not in 
manufacturing useful tools, hut weapons for battle. 


Pomare subsequently made war upon the inhabitants 
of Pare, where the Europeans had been plundered: 
the people were defeated, fourteen of them killed, and 
forty or fifty of their houses burnt. 

Five months after the departure of the mission- 
aries in the Nautilus, two large vessels were seen 
standing towards Matavai Bay. As soon as they 
hoisted English colours, the natives were thrown into 
the greatest consternation, and, packing up whatever 
they could carry away, abandoned their houses, and 
were seen in every direction flying towards the moun- 
tains. Being asked their reasons for such a proceed- 
ing, they answered, that, seeing two large English ships, 
they apprehended they were come to revenge the 
assault upon the missionaries. After many assurances 
to the contrary, their fears seemed to be removed. 
When the captains came on shore in the evening, they 
were welcomed by the missionaries, and introduced to 
the chiefs, whose familiarity and cheerfulness soon 
evinced that every feeling of suspicion had subsided. 
These vessels were the Cornwall and the Sally of Lon- 
don, South Sea whalers. As the ships were in repair, 
and the crews in health, they remained only three days 
in the harbour, and sailed from the island on the 27th 
of August, having made a number of presents to the 
chiefs. They did not leave any of their crews on 
shore, which was a matter of great satisfaction to the 
missionaries, who had beheld with regret the baneful 
influence of unprincipled seamen on the minds and 
habits of the people. 

From one of these ships Oripaia, a chief of Papara, 
and a rival of Pomare, had received a large quantity 
of gunpowder as a present. The powder being coarser 
in the grain than what the natives had been accustomed 
to receive, they imagined either that it was not pow- 
der, or that it was a very inferior kind. In order to 
satisfy themselves, Oripaia proposed to one of his 
attendants to try it. A pistol was loaded, and fired 
over the whole heap of powder they had received, and 
around which the chief and his attendants were sitting. 
A spark fell from the pistol, and the whole of the pow- 
der instantly exploded. As soon as the natives had 
recovered from the shock, perceiving the powder ad- 
hering to their limbs, they attempted to rub it off, but 
found the skin peel off with it; they then plunged 


into an adjacent river. Six of the natives were se- 
verely injured, and Oripaia with one of his attend- 
ants died. As soon as Pomare was acquainted with 
the accident, he begged Mr. Broomhall to visit the 
house in which the accident had occurred, and endea- 
vour to relieve the sufferers. The chief appeared in a 
most affecting state, dreadfully scorched with the pow- 
der ; Mr. Broomhall employed such applications as he 
supposed likely to alleviate Ids sufferings; these, how- 
ever, increased, and both the chief and his wife attrib- 
uted his pains, not to the effects of the explosion, but 
to the remedies applied, or rather to the poison ima- 
gined to be infused into the application by the god of 
the foreigners. This not only aroused the jealousy of 
the chief, and the rage of Otu, but having nearly cost 
Mr. Broomhall and hie companions their lives, it made 
the missionaries extremely cautious in administering 
medicine to any of the chiefs. Native remedies were 
now applied to relieve the sufferings of Oripaia, but they 
were unavailing, and, after languishing for some time 
in the greatest agony, he expired. The body of the 
deceased chief w;is embalmed by a process peculiar to 
the inhabitants of the South Sea islands, and already 
described. It was placed on a kind of platform ; and 
a number of superstitious ceremonies were observed. 
During the performance of these rites, Pomare's orator, 
and some of the inhabitants of Matavai, used insulting 
expressions in reference to the corpse ; which so in- 
censed Otu that, aided by the chief-priest, he imme- 
diately made war upon the district of Matavai. Late 
in the evening, the missionaries and people had some 
intimation of his intention ; before daylight the next 
morning the attack was commenced at one end of the 
district ; the inhabitants fled before the assailants ; and 
by sunrise the warriors of Otu had scoured the district 
from one end to the other, driving before them every 
inhabitant, excepting a few in the immediate vicinity 
of the missionary dwellings. Several warriors, with 
clubs and spears, surrounded the missionary house, 
but its inmates remained unmolested; and in the course 
of the day Haamanemane arrived, and assured the 
mission family no evil was designed against them. In 
the evening they were also visited in an amicable man- 
ner by Otu and his queen. 

In connexion with this attack upon the district of 
Matavai, which belonged to Pomare, Otu and Haamane- 


mane declared that Pomare was deprived of all author- 
ity in the larger peninsula. The districts on the west 
and south sides declared for Otu, and those on the western 
were threatened with invasion in the event of refusal. 
In the division of the territory thus seized, the chief 
priest received the eastern part of Matavai; but he did 
not long enjoy it ; he was murdered, at the instance of 
Pomare, very shortly afterward. 

Haamanemane, the old priest, having been Captain 
Wilson's taio, or friend, was frequently with the mis- 
sionaries, and uniformly kind to them. He was evi- 
dently a shrewd and enterprising man; yet I should 
think sometimes rather eccentric. When arrayed in a 
favourite dress, which was a glazed hat, and a black 
coat fringed round the edges with red feathers, his ap- 
pearance must have been somewhat ludicrous, although 
this was probably his sacerdotal habit, as red feathers 
were always considered emblematical of their deities. 
He had formerly been a principal chief in Raiatea, and 
still possessed great influence over the natives, espe- 
cially in the adjacent island of Eimeo, where, with a 
little assistance from the European workmen, he had 
built a schooner, in which he came over to see his friend 
Captain Wilson during the second visit of the Duff to 
Tahiti. This vessel, considering it as their first effort 
at ship-building, was an astonishing performance. To 
him the missionaries had frequent opportunities of 
speaking, though apparently with but little good effect, 
against many of the sanguinary features of their idolatry, 
especially the offering of human sacrifices, in which 
they knew he had been more than once engaged since 
their arrival. Sometimes, however, he spoke as if he 
officiated in these horrid rites more from necessity than 

He was remarkably active and vigorous, and, though 
far advanced in years and nearly blind, indulged, without 
restraint, in all the degrading vices of his country. 
Moral character and virtuous conduct were never con- 
sidered requisite, even in those whose office was most 
sacred. As a priest, he practised every species of ex- 
tortion and cruelty ; neither was he less familiar with 
intrigue, nor free from ambition, as a politician. His 
supposed influence with the gods, his deep skill in the 
mysteries of their worship, and the constant dread of 
his displeasure, which would probably have doomed the 
B 3 


individual by whom it was incurred to immolation on 
the altar of his idol, favoured, in no small degree, his 
assumption and exercise of civil power, both in Eimeo 
and Tahiti. A jealousy appeared to exist between him 
and Pomare, the father of Otu, who was kin? of the 
island ; and, during the absence of the former, on a visit 
to a neighbouring island, availing himself of the offence 
Pomare's orator and people had given to Otu, he formed 
a league with the young king to deprive Pomare of all 
authority in Tahiti. Having offered a human victim to 
his idol, he invaded the district of the absent chieftain, 
and brought war to the very doors of the mission-house 
in less than seventeen months after the departure of 
the Duff. The attack, as already stated, was made at 
daybreak, on the western border of Matavai : four indi- 
viduals were killed, and afterward offered by the priest 
to Ins deity. The inhabitants, unable to withstand the 
young king and his ally, abandoned their plantations and 
their dwellings, and fled for their lives. The invaders 
divided the district, and the priest, taking possession of 
the eastern side, revelled in all the profligacy and inso- 
lence of plunder and destruction. His triumph, how- 
ever, was but short. Pomare sent privately to Idia 
directions for his assassination. After two or three 
solicitations from his mother, Otu, the young king, 
though in the closest alliance witli him, consented to 
his death, and he was murdered by one of Idia's men, at 
the foot of One-tree Hill, as he was on his way to Pare, 
on the 3d of December, 1798, ten days after the invasion 
of Matavai. 

This event gave a new aspect to political affairs on 
the island, and appeared to unite in one interest Otu and 
Pomare his father. The inhabitants of Matavai left 
their places of retreat, and, having presented their 
peace-offering, reoccupied their lands. The missiona- 
ries resumed their attempts to instruct the natives, but 
found the acquisition of the language so difficult, and 
the insensibility of the people so great, that they were 
exceedingly discouraged. Some of the natives, how- 
ever, were led to inquire how it was that Cook, Van- 
couver, Bligh, and other early visiters had never told 
them any of those things which they heard from the 
teachers now residing with them. 

Towards the close of the year 1799, the missionaries 
were called to the melancholy duty of conveying to the 


silent grave, under very distressing circumstances, Mr. 
Lewis, one of their number, and the first missionary 
who had terminated his life on the shores of Tahiti. 
He landed from the ship Duff in 1797, continued to 
labour with his companions, respected and useful, until 
about three months after the departure of the Nautilus 
to Port Jackson, when he left the mission-house, and 
took up his residence with a taio, or friend, in the east- 
ern part of the district. Three weeks afterward he 
intimated to his companions his intention of uniting in 
marriage with a native of the island, solemnly purposing 
to abide faithful towards her until death. Considering 
her an idolatress, the missionaries deemed this an in- 
consistent and unlawful act, and not only declined to 
sanction the proceeding, but endeavoured by every 
means to dissuade him from it ; but Mr. Lewis perse- 
vering in his determination, they dissolved the connexion 
that had subsisted between him and themselves as 
members of a Christian church or society, and discon- 
tinued all religious and social intercourse with him. 
He was still constant in attendance on public worship, 
industrious in the culture of his garden, and in working 
for the king and principal chiefs, who were evidently 
much attached to him. On the 23d of November, the 
missionaries heard that he had died on the preceding 
evening. They hastened to his house, and found the 
corpse lying on a bed ; the forehead and face consider- 
ably disfigured with wounds, apparently inflicted with a 
stone and a sharp instrument. The female with whom 
he had lived as his wife informed them that he went 
out of the house on the preceding evening, and that, 
hearing a noise shortly afterward, she hastened to the 
spot whence it proceeded, and saw him on the pavement 
in front of the house, beating his head against the stone3. 
On looking at that part of the pavement where he had 
fallen, one or two of the stones were stained with 
blood. Some of the natives said that he had acted as if 
insane ; others, that the evil spirit had entered into him ; 
but, from several expressions that were used, there was 
reason to apprehend he had been murdered. 

Assisted by two or three natives, Mr. Bicknell and 
Mr. Nott dug a grave in a spot near their dwelling on 
the north side of Matavai Bay, which had been selected 
as a place of interment. On the evening of the 29th of 
November, 1799, Mr. Nott, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Eyre, and 


Mr. Bicknell bore his remains to the grave, where Mr. 
Harris read the xcth Psalm, and offered up an appropri- 
ate prayer to Almighty Ciod. The circumstances of 
his death were truly affecting, and the feelings of the 
missionaries such as it would be in vain to attempt to 
describe. They have since learned that he was mur- 
dered ; and some of them have also regretted that, after 
his separation, kindness and friendly intercourse were 
not continued, which might perhaps, without compro- 
mise of character, have been consistently maintained. 
Pomare, considering himself the protector of the mis- 
sionaries, though he did not appear to think he had 
been murdered, yet proposed, if it appeared to the sur- 
vivors that such had been the fact, to destroy the in- 
habitants of the district; and so much did many of the 
latter fear such an event, that they fled to the moun- 
tains. The missionaries, considering that in such re- 
taliation the innocent would suffer with the guilty, 
interposed, and prevailed upon the king to spare the 
district, but to punish the guilty whenever they might 
be discovered. 

Scarcely were the remains of Mr. Lewis consigned 
to the silent grave, when an event occurred which again 
reduced the number of this already weakened band. 
The Betsy of London, a letter of marque, arrived with 
a Spanish brig, her prize, with which she was proceeding 
from South America to Port Jackson. The commander 
of the Betsy having intimated his intention of returning 
in five or six months, Mr. Harris proposed to his com- 
panions to visit New South Wales; and on the 1st of 
January, 1800, he sailed from Matavai Bay, intending to 
return when the ship should revisit the islands. By 
this conveyance, the remaining missionaries wrote an 
account of their circumstances and their prospects to 
the directors in London, stating that, although they had 
not acquired a sufficient knowledge of the language to 
enable them publicly to preach the gospel, they had ob- 
served, whenever they had conversed with the natives, 
that though they could perceive the difference between 
Christianity and paganism, their attachment to the 
abominations of the latter was too strong to be removed 
by any other influence than that of the Spirit of the 
Most High. 

Anxious to avoid unnecessary expenditure of those 
funds which British benevolence furnished, they had on 


a former occasion written to prevent the society's in- 
curring any further expense on their account, as their 
remaining on the island was uncertain ; but now, as 
there was a prospect of peaceable continuance, and the 
liberal supply they had taken out in the Duff being, by 
plunder, presents, &c, nearly expended, they found it 
necessary to solicit a few articles for their own use, and 
others for presents to the chiefs, whom they described 
" s daily visiting their dwellings, and treating tlieiu with 

Five days after the departure of the Betsy, the mis- 
sionaries had the satisfaction to welcome again to their 
society Mr. and Mrs. Henry ; who returned from Port 
Jackson in the Eliza, a South Sea whaler. Mr. Henry 
was the only one of the number who had left that re- 
sumed his labours in Tahiti. By him they also unex- 
pectedly received the pleasing intelligence of the Duffs 
second destination to Tahiti, and were led to hope, on 
her arrival, a reinforcement of labourers, and the vari- 
ous supplies of which they stood so much in need. 
Having repaired the vessel and recruited his stores, the 
captain sailed from Tahiti on the 14th of January, leav- 
ing on the island three of his seamen, whose influence 
among the inhabitants in general was soon found to be 
most unfavourable. 

Hitherto, the public worship of God had been per- 
formed in one of the apartments of the mission-house ; 
but as it appeared expedient to erect a place for this 
specific object, to which also the natives might have 
access for the purpose of religious instruction, a spot 
was selected near the grave of Mr. Lewis ; and on the 
5th of March, 1797, with the assistance of a number 
of Pomare's men, they commenced the erection of their 
chapel. The chiefs procured most of the materials, 
and, when it was nearly finished, Pomare sent a .fish as 
an offering to Jesus Christ, requesting that it might be 
hung up in their new chapel. This was the first build- 
ing ever erected in the South Sea islands for the wor- 
ship of the living God. But although the missionaries 
were cheered with the hope of often beholding it filled 
w ith attentive hearers or Christian worshippers, they 
wt-ie obliged to pull it down early in the year 1802, to 
present its affording shelter to their enemies, or being 
set on fire by the rebels, by which their own dwelling 
might have been destroyed. 


The pleasing anticipations which the missionaries had 
been led to indulge, in connexion with the second visit 
of the Duff, were destroyed by the arrival of the Albion 
in Matavai Bay, on the 27th of December in the same 
year. Her commander, Captain Bunker, brought them 
no letters from England, but conveyed the melancholy 
tidings of the capture of the Duff by a French privateer. 
He also delivered from Mr. Harris, who was settled on 
Norfolk Island, a letter acquainting them with the mur- 
der of three of the missionaries in the Friendly Islands, 
the departure of one, the flight of the rest to Port Jack- 
son, and the total destruction of the Tonga mission. 
Their own circumstances were by no means prosperous ; 
they had heard but once from England : they were ex- 
pecting every day the arrival of the Duff with cheering 
tidings and additional aid; but the intelligence now 
received not only disappointed their hopes, but depressed 
their spirits, and darkened their prospects. In the letter 
sent at this time to the directors, they express their 
anxiety to hear from England, their conviction of the 
facilities that would be afforded towards the establishing 
the gospel in Tahiti and the neighbouring islands if 
they were joined by a body of missionaries and an expe- 
rienced director, and recommended that a surgeon and 
several mechanics should be included in the number of 
those who might be sent. 

The Albion had scarcely sailed, when large fleets of 
canoes, filled with fighting men, arrived, and the island 
was agitated with the apprehension of hostilities be- 
tween the king and chiefs. The removal of Oro, the 
national idol, from Pare to Atehuru, was the cause of 
the threatened conflict: ammunition was prepared; a 
large assembly of chiefs and warriors met at Pare ; and 
it was daily expected that the long concealed elements 
of war would there explode, and plunge the nation in 
anarchy and bloodshed. At this critical period, his 
majesty's ship Porpoise arrived in Matavai Bay. The 
letter and presents Pomare received by this conveyance 
from the governor of New South Wales, and the atten- 
tions paid to him by the commander of the vessel, 
tended in no small degree to confirm Otu in his govern- 
ment, and to intimidate his enemies. 

The governors of the colony of New South Wales 
have uniformly manifested the most friendly concern 
for the safety of the missionaries, and the success of the 


several missions hi the South Seas. On the present 
occasion, Governor King, in a letter to Pomare, re- 
marked, that he could "not too strongly recommend to 
his kind protection the society of missionaries whom he 
had taken under his care ;" and that " such protection 
could not fail to excite the gratitude of the missionaries, 
and the friendship of King George." Governor Mac- 
quarie, his successor, manifested the same kindness 
towards the missionaries, and an equal regard for the 
welfare and security of the natives. In order to protect 
the inhabitants of New-Zealand and the South Sea 
islands from the oppression, violence, and murder of 
unprincipled and lawless Europeans, he issued, in De- 
cember, 1813, an order, alike creditable to the enlight- 
ened policy of his administration, and the benevolence 
of his heart. A copy was brought to the Society 
Islands, and is here inserted. 

Government and General Orders, dated December 1, 1813. 

" No ship or vessel shall clear out from any of the ports within 
this territory (New South Wales), for New-Zealand, or any 
other island in the South Pacific, unless the master, if of British 
or Indian, or the master and owners, if of plantation registry, 
shall enter intohoiuls with the naval officer, under 1000/. penalty, 
that themselves and crew shall properly demean themselves 
towards the natives, and not commit acts of trespass on their 
gardens, lands, habitations, burial-grounds, tombs, or properties, 
ami not make war, or at all interfere in their quarrels, or excite 
any animosities among them, but leave them to the free enjoy- 
ment of their rites and ceremonies ; and not take from the 
islands any male native, without his own, and his chief's, and 
parents' consent ; and shall not take from thence any female 
native without the like consent — or, in case of shipping any 
male natives, as mariners, divers, &c., then, at their own re- 
quest at any time, to discharge them, first paying them all 
wages, &c. And the natives of all the said islands being under 
his majesty's protection, all acts of rapine, plunder, piracy, 
murders, or other outrages against their persons or property, 
will, upon conviction, be severely punished." 

In reference to another order resembling this, and 
issued November 19, 1814, it is declared that — 

" Any neglect or disobedience of these orders will subject the 
oflenders to be proceeded against with the utmost rigour of the 


law on their return thither (viz. New South Wales) ; and those 
who shall return to England without first resorting to this place 
will be reported to his majesty's secretary of state for the colo- 
nies, and such documents transmitted as will warrant their 
being equally proceeded against and punished." 

Although the justice and humanity of the Governor 
of New (South Wales were so distinctly manifested in 
the foregoing orders, these regulations were found in- 
sufficient to prevent outrage upon the natives from the 
masters and crews of vessels visiting the islands: an 
act was therefore passed in the British parliament, in the 
month of June, 1H17, entitled, "An Act of the 57th of 
the K i nir- for the more effectual punishment of Murders 
and Manslaughters committed in places not within II is- 
Majesty's dominions." As it is a document important 
to the peace and security of the inhabitants of Polynesia, 
I deem no apology necessary f« >r inserting it nearly en- 
tire. In the preamble of the bill it is stated — 

" That grievous murders and manslaughters had been com- 
mitted in the South Pacific Ocean, as well on the high seas as 
on land, in the islands of New-Zealand and Otaheite, and in 
other islands, countries, and places not within his majesty's do- 
minions, by the masters and crews of British ships, and other 
persons, who have, for the most part, deserted from, or left their 
ships, and have continued to live and reside among the inhabit- 
ants of these islands; whereby great violence has been done, 
and a general scandal and prejudice raised against the name and 
character of British and Other European traders : And whereas 
such crimes and offences do escape unpunished, by reason of 
the difficulty of bringing to trial the persons guilty thereof: For 
remedy whereof, be it enacted by the king's most excellent ma- 
jesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual 
and temporal, and the commons, in this present parliament 
assembled, and by the authority of the same, that from and 
after the passing of this act, all murders and manslaughters 
committed, or that shall be committed, in the said islands ot New- 
Zealand and Otaheite, or within any other islands, countries, or 
places not within his majesty's dominions, nor subject to any Eu- 
ropean stale or power, nor within the territory of the United 
States of America, by the master or crew of any British ship, or 
vessel, or any of them, or by any person salting in, or belong- 
ing thereto ; or that shall have sailed in, or belonged to, and 
have quitted any British ship or vessel, to live in any of the said 
islands, countries, or places, or either of them, or that shall be 
there living — shall and may be tried, and adjudged, and punished 


in any of his majesty's islands, plantations, colonies, dominions 
forts, or factories, under or by virtue of the king's commission 
or commissions, which shall have been or may hereafter be 
issued, under and by virtue, and in pursuance of, an act passed 
in the forty-sixth year of his present majesty, entitled, 'An Act 
for the more speedy trial of offences committed in distant coun- 
tries, or upon the sea.' " 

By the Porpoise the missionaries received the agree- 
able intelligence that a ship with a reinforcement of 
their number, and necessary supplies from England, was 
on her way to the islands. In the afternoon of the 10th 
of July, 1801, the Poyal Admiral, commanded by Cap- 
tain W. Wilson, anchored in the bay, having a number 
of missionaries on board, together with supplies and let- 
ters from their friends and the directors, from whom 
they had heard only once during the four years they had 
dwelt on the island. Mr. Shelly, one of the mission- 
aries who had been stationed in the Friendly Islands, 
but had escaped to New South Wales, returned to Ta- 
hiti in this ship, and was cordially welcomed by his 
friends, along with those who had arrived from Eng- 

On the 13th of July, 1801, Captain Wilson and the 
eight missionaries from England landed near Point 
Venus, and were introduced to Otu, Pomare, and other 
principal chiefs, by whom they were welcomed to Ta- 
hiti. Pomare said he was pleased with their arrival, 
and expressed his willingness that others should join 
them. The gratification he expressed on their landing, 
however, did not arise from any desire after religious 
instruction, for in this interview he spoke of their en- 
gaging in war with him, and probably rejoiced in their 
arrival only as a means of increasing the extent of his in- 
fluence and the stability of his government. After remain- 
ing about three weeks at Tahiti, and assisting the society 
in t heir regulations by his counsel, and in the prepara- 
tion of their houses by the carpenters of the ship, Cap- 
tain Wilson sailed from Matavai on the 31st of July. 
With him Mr. Broomhall left Tahiti for China or India. 
He had been above five years on the island, having ar- 
rived in the Duff in 1797. He was an intelligent, active 
young man, twenty-four years of age, had been highly 
serviceable to the mission, and was respected by the 
natives, until about twelve months prior to the arrival 


of the Royal Admiral, when he intimated his doubts as 
to the reality of Divine influence on the mind, and the 
immortality of the soul. His companions endeavoured 
to remove his skepticism; but failing ill their efforts, he 
was separated from their communion, having on several 
occasions publicly declared his sentiments to be deisti- 
cal. He then lived some time with a native female as 
his wife, but was soon left by her; and, on the arrival 
of Captain Wilson, requested permission to leave the 
island in his ship. His departure from the island under 
such circumstances, although desirable on account of 
the influence of his principles and conduct on the minds 
of the inhabitants, could not but lie peculiarly distress- 
ing to those he left behind. They followed bun with 
their compassionate regard and their prayers, and after 
a number of years, learned that he bad been engaged in 
a vessel trailing in the Indian seas; that he had at length 
made himself known to the Baptisl missionaries at Se- 
rampore, from whom they heard that he had renounced 
bis erroneous sentiments, and professed his belief in the 
truth of the Christian revelation. 

The circumstances which follow relative to the peni- 
tence of this unhappy man are taken from the " Circu- 
lar Letters," published by the Baptist Missionary So- 
ciety. In one of these, dated Calcutta, May 8, 1809, the 
writer says — 

" We have lately seen the gracious hand of God stretched out 
in a most remarkable manner, in the recovery of a backsliding 
missionary, after nine years of wandering from God. This per- 
son had been chosen with others for an arduous undertaking — 
had been set apart to the great work, and had engaged in it to 
a considerable extent — having acquired a tolerable knowledge 
of the language in which he was to preach to the heathen. At 
this period he fell into open iniquity, <md embraced a gloomy 
state of infidelity, the frequent consequence of backsliding from 

Having left the mission and gone to sea, several 
alarming incidents, particularly the breaking of a limb 
at Madras, and a severe illness in Calcutta, tended to 
arouse him to a sense of his danger. But, although he 
held a correspondence with several serious persons, he 
studiously concealed his previous character and his 
name. At length, after writing along letter, in which 


he describes the anguish of his mind with dreadful 
minuteness, he obtained a private interview with Dr. 
Marshman and Mr. Ward, of which the following is the 

" At the time appointed, he called on Brother Marshman at 
Brother Carey's house, and, after a little conversation on the 
state of his soul, he added, ' You now behold an apostate mis- 
sionary. I am , who left his brethren nine years ago. Is 

it possible you can behold me without despising me V The 
effect which this discovery of Divine mercy displayed to a back- 
slider, had on Brother Marshman's mind, can better be conceived 
than described. It for the momen'. took away the anguish occa- 
sioned by a note that instant received from Serampore, saying 
that Brother Carey was at the point of death ! Brother Marsh- 
man entreated this returning prodigal to be assured of the utmost 
love on our part — eucouraged him in his determination to return 
to his missionary brethren, and promised to intercede on his be- 
half, both with his brethren and those who sent him out." 

Soon after the above interview, Mr. Broomhall em- 
barked on another voyage to some port in India, pur- 
posing on his return to dispose of his vessel, and devote 
the remainder of his days to the advancement of that 
cause which he had abandoned ; but from that voyage 
he never returned: neither Mr. Broomhall nor his ves- 
sel was ever afterward heard of. It is supposed that 
the vessel foundered, and all on board perished. 



First preaching in the native language — National council in Atehuru — Seizure 
of the idolOro — Rebellion ol the Oropn— Introduction of useful foreign fruits 
and vegetables — Providential arrival of two vessels — Battle of l'are— King's 
camp attacked, Oro retaken — Mission-house garrisoned Willi seamen, ic. — 
Desolation of the war — Death of the king's brother — Ravagesof foreign dis- 
eases — Death of Poniare — Sketch of his character — Otu assumes the name 
of his late father — Origin of the regal name — Efforts to instruct the children 
— Death of the queen — Cornp lation of the first spelling-book — First school 
for teaching reading and writing — Arrival of the Hawkewbjry — Death of Mr. 
Jefferson— Mr. Noil's visit to the Leeward Island*— Rebellion in Matuvai — 
Defeat ofihe king— Departure of the majority of the missionaries — Aban- 
donment of the mission. 

Anxious to increase the resources of the islands, those 
who had arrived in the Royal Admiral had brought with 
them a variety of useful seeds from Port Jackson, with 
plants of the vine, the fig, and the peach-tree, which 
were planted in the mission garden. Many of the seeds 
grew, and the vegetables produced added an agreeable 
variety to the indigenous productions of the country. 
The vine, the peach, and the fig appeared to thrive well ; 
but in the war which broke out shortly after, the fences 
were broken down, the plants torn up or trodden under 
foot, and the garden was entirely destroyed. Pine- 
apples and water-melons, of which the natives seemed 
remarkably fond, were preserved amid the general de- 
vastation. The pine-apple grew luxuriantly in several 
parts of Tahiti ; and though the natives were told it was 
palatable food, they were so mistaken in the nature of 
the fruit, that they baked numbers of them in their na- 
tive ovens, before they attempted to eat any undressed. 
Had they exercised a little more patience, the vine also 
might perhaps have been spared ; for it is stated, that 
as soon as the young grapes appeared, they eagerly 
plucked and tasted them, but finding them exceedingly 
Bour, they became indignant, and, regarding the plant 
as useless, destroyed it. 

The missionaries who had arrived in the Duff had 
now acquired so much of the language as to be able to 
preach to the natives in their own tongue, and to engage 
in the catechetical instruction of the children. In these 


exercises they did not confine themselves to the inhab- 
itants of their own vicinity, but visited the adjacent 
districts ; and in the month of March, 1802, Mr. Nott, 
accompanied by Mr. Elder, made the first missionary 
tour of Tahiti. They were in general hospitably en- 
tertained, and had many opportunities of speaking to 
the people, who frequently listened with attention, and 
often made inquiries, either while the preacher was 
speaking, or after the address was ended. They seemed 
interested in the account of the creation, and deeply 
affected with the exhibition of Jesus Christ as the true 
atonement for sin ; instead of pearls, or pigs, or other 
offerings, which they had been accustomed to consider 
as the best means of propitiating their deities. Some 
said they desired to pray to the true God, but were 
afraid the gods of Tahiti would destroy them if they 
did : others remarked, that the Duff came last among the 
ships, but that, if the gospel had been conveyed by the 
first ship, the gods of feathers, as they denominated 
their idols, would long ago have been destroyed : and 
one of the principal chiefs, at whose residence they 
spent the night, observed to the natives around that he 
believed the missionaries possessed the true foundation 
of knowledge. 

On their return home, they travelled through the 
district of Atehuru, and found the king, Pomare, and all 
the chiefs and warriors of the land, assembled at the 
great marae, where a number of ceremonies were per- 
forming in honour of Oro, the great national idol. As 
they passed the marae, they saw a number of hogs on 
the altar, and several human sacrifices placed in the 
trees around ; and when they reached the spot where 
the chiefs were assembled, they found Pomare offering 
five or six large pigs to Oro, on board a sacred canoe, 
in which the ark or residence of the idol was placed. 
Notwithstanding his being thus engaged, they told him 
Jehovah alone was God, that pigs were not acceptable 
to him as offerings, that Jesus Christ was the true 
atonement for sin, and that God was offended with them 
for killing men. The chief at first seemed unwilling to 
listen, but at last said he would attend to their religion. 

On the following day, when the king, chiefs, and 
people were assembled within the temple, Otu and his 
father pretending to have received intimation that Oro 
wished to be conveyed to Tautira, in Taiarabu, Pomare 


addressed the chiefs of Atehuru, requesting them to 
give him up ; but the orators of the Atehuruan chiefs 
resisted. Otu then demanded him, but the chiefs still 
refused compliance. Pomare then recommended his 
son, the king, to allow the Atehuruan chiefs to retain 
the idol until a certain ceremony had been performed. 
This the king declined, and again insisted that Oro 
should be given up. This was still refused; and, hav- 
ing asked for some time without effect, he rose in anger, 
and ordered his party to withdraw. A number of his 
attendants rushed upon the canoes,, others seized the 
god by force, tore him away from the people of Atehuru, 
and bore him towards the sea. This was not only the 
signal for war, but the commencement of hostilities. 
The Atehuruans fled to the valley, and the king and 
Pomare set sail with their fleet to the place of rendez- 
vous; and, lest Oro should feel indignant at the treat- 
ment he had received, a human sacrifice was ordered ; 
but as they had no captives with them, one of Pomare's 
own servants was murdered, and offered as soon as the 
king reached the shore. The next morning the fleet 
sailed with the idol for Tautira, and the missionaries 
returned to their companions, with the tidings of the 
threatening events, of which they had been the melan- 
choly spectators. When the fleet reached Papara, Po- 
mare sent them word that it was probable the Atehu- 
ruans would attack them, and advised them to be upon 
their guard. Ten days alter, they heard that the 
inhabitants of Atehuru had invaded the district of Faa, 
murdered those who had not escaped by flight, burnt the 
houses, and continued their murderous and desolating 
course into the district of Pare, which joins Matavai on 
the south. Here they drove out the inhabitants, burnt 
their habitations, and then returned to their own terri- 
tory ; not, however, without threatening to enter the 
district of Matavai, and assault and plunder the mis- 

This rebellion, called in the annals of Tahiti, Te tamai 
ia Rita, the war of Rua (Rua being the name of the 
principal leader of the rebellion), was the most power- 
ful and alarming that had yet taken place; and the cir- 
cumstances by which God providentially preserved the 
missionaries from its rage, and from inevitable ruin, 
were remarkable. About six weeks before Mr. Nott 
commenced his tour of Tahiti, the Norfolk, an armed 


brig from Port Jackson, arrived at Matavai, and brought 
Mr. and Mrs. Shelly to join the mission. About a week 
after the arrival of the Norfolk, the Venus, another 
colonial vessel, came into the bay, and left on shore 
Captain Bishop and six seamen, to purchase pigs and 
salt pork for Port Jackson, while Captain Bass pursued 
his voyage to the Sandwich Islands on the same errand. 
About the 30th of March the Norfolk was wrecked in 
Matavai Bay, having been driven on shore by a heavy 
gale of wind. The hull was destroyed, but all the stores 
were preserved. Seventeen Englishmen were thus 
cast ashore, and added to the number of those already 
residing there. These, together with Captain Bishop 
and his men, exposed to one common enemy, united 
with the missionaries for mutual defence ; and to them, 
under God, the missionaries owed their preservation. 
Two or three hundred warriors came from Eimeo to 
Pomare's aid. They encamped in the northern part of 
Pare, where they were joined by a number of the 
inhabitants of those districts, favourable to his cause ; 
but they were attacked, and driven in confusion before 
the rebels towards Matavai, which had now become the 
frontier district. 

On the day of the engagement, Captain Bishop, with 
a strong party, occupied the pass on the top of One-tree 
Hill, arrested the progress of the victors, and favoured 
the retreat of the vanquished, whose courage appeared 
to have forsaken them, under the conviction that the 
god Oro, fighting with their enemies, rendered them 
invincible. The rebels did not attempt to enter the 
district, but sent a messenger with proposals of alliance, 
offering the English the government of Matavai, and the 
two districts to the southward, which they had already 
ravaged. If this was not agreed to, they demanded 
permission to march through the district to attack their 
enemies beyond Matavai, and, in the event of refusal, 
declared their intention of forcing a passage with the 
club and the spear. The refugees from the conquered 
districts had already sheltered themselves under the 
protection of the missionaries and their companions, 
and they would have fallen a sacrifice to the cruelty 
of their enemies, had these been allowed to pass through 
the district. The English, therefore, acceded to the 
first proposition. The Atehuruans ratified the treaty, 
returned to their own land, and thus afforded the 


foreigners at Matavai, and those under their protection, 
a short respite from the dread of immediate attack. 
Had the missionaries been the only Englishmen resid- 
ing on the island at the time, it is most probable the 
victors would not have been checked by them in their 
career of conquest. They would have prosecuted their 
march of destruction ; and, as the missionaries remark, 
they must have retreated, or fallen a sacrifice to their 

Flushed with success, and animated with the belief 
that the god fought with them, the rebels, having offered 
in sacrifice the bodies of the slain, and united in their 
confederacy the districts of Papara, and the whole of 
the south-west side of the larger peninsula, crossed the 
isthmus, marched at once to Tautira, and attacked the 
king and Pomare; who, ever since their arrival with 
the idol they had seized in Atehuru, had been engaged 
in offering human sacrifices ; and, by other acts of wor- 
ship, propitiating the favour of Oro. The rebels con- 
ducted their expedition with so much secrecy and 
despatch, that the king was taken by surprise. Not- 
withstanding this, the assailants were, in their first 
onset, repulsed ; but, renewing their attack in the night, 
although Pomare's party had forty muskets, and those 
in the hands of the rebels were not more than fourteen, 
they threw the king's forces into confusion, killed a 
chief of influence, a near relative of Pomare's, and, 
driving his warriors to their canoes, retook the object 
of their murderous contention, the image of Oro, and 
remained masters of the whole of Tairabu, as well as 
of the south and western side of the large peninsula. 

Pomare and his vanquished forces pursued their 
voyage to Matavai, where he and his son were re- 
ceived with respect by Captain Bishop and his com- 
panions. His affairs appeared desperate, and he enter- 
tained no thoughts of security, but by flight to Eimeo. 
When, however, he beheld the manner in which the 
English had prepared to defend themselves if attacked, 
and was assured by Captain Bishop and his companions 
that if he was conquered, they were not ; and that they 
would support him in the present critical state of the 
nation, and assist in the restoration of his government, 
his prospects brightened, and he again indulged a hope 
that his affairs might be retrieved. 

The rebels were now masters of the greater part of 


the island ; and, as the missionaries had every reason 
to believe they would attempt the conquest of the 
remainder, and knew that their establishment was the 
only point where they were likely to meet with the 
slightest resistance, they neglected no means of defence. 
The mission-house was converted into a garrison. The 
enclosures of the garden were destroyed, the bread- 
fruit and cocoanut-trees cut down, to prevent their 
affording shelter to the enemy, and the means of annoy- 
ance from their muskets or their slings. Their chapel 
was also pulled down, lest the enemy should occupy it 
or burn it, and from it set fire to their own dwelling. 
A strong paling, or stockade, was planted round the 
house ; boards, covered with nails, were sunk in the 
paths leading to it; and thither the missionaries, Cap- 
tain Bishop, Captain House, commander of the vessel 
that had been wrecked, and the seamen under their 
orders, now retired, as they daily received the most 
alarming accounts of the intention of the rebels to make 
their next attack upon them. The veranda in front 
of their dwelling was protected by chests, bedding, and 
other articles, so as to afford a secure defence from 
musket-balls ; and the sides of the house, which were 
only boarded, were fortified with similar materials. 
Four brass cannon, which had been saved from the 
wreck of the Norfolk, were fixed in two of the upper 
rooms, and the inmates of the dwelling were placed 
under arms, so far as the number of muskets would 
admit. The missionaries, as well as the seamen, stood 
sentinels in turn, night and day, in order to prevent sur- 
prise. Their situation at this time must have been most 
distressing. Independently of the desolation that sur- 
rounded them, and the confusion and disquietude that 
must necessarily have attended their being all confined 
in one house, together with the two captains and their 
seamen, they were daily expecting an attack. Some- 
times they heard that the rebels were entering Matavai 
from the east, at other times from the west, and some- 
times they received intelligence that they had divided 
their forces, and intended to commence the attack from 
two opposite points at the same time. 

Pomare erected some works on One-tree Hill, to 
arrest their progress, should they attempt the district 
in that direction ; and, hearing they were still ravaging 
the peninsula of Tairabu, sent a strong party to tabu-U 

Vol. II.— C 


ohua, strike their encampment at home. His party 
reached Atehuru, without molestation, late at night; 
and, after a short concealment, falling upon the uncon- 
scious and defenceless victims, under the cover of the 
darkness of midnight, in two hours destroyed nearly 
two hundred men, women, and children. The men who 
remained at home, in times of war, were generally 
either aged or sick, and incapable of bearing anus. 
This unprovoked act of cruelty, on the part of Pomare, 
heightened to such a degree the rage of the rebels, that 
they vowed the entire destruction of the reigning 

While the affairs of the island remained in this un- 
settled state, the Nautilus arrived, and Pomare, pre- 
vailing on the captain to furnish him with a boat manned 
by British seamen armed, went to Atehuru to present a 
costly offering to Oro, whose favour he still considered 
to be the only means of restoring his authority. Al- 
though that idol was now in the hands of his enemies, 
yet, as his errand was of a sacred character, the Ate- 
huruans, notwithstanding they would not admit him to 
the temple, allowed him to present his offerings, which 
he deposited on a part of the beach near the temple, 
and peaceably retired. 

When Pomare returned, he solicited from the cap- 
tains men and arms to go against the insurgents : and 
on the 3d of July, Captain Bishop and the mate of the 
Nautilus, with twenty-three Europeans, well supplied 
with ammunition, arms, and a four-pound cannon, 
accompanied Pomare's forces to the attack. AH the 
missionaries remained at Matavai, excepting one, who 
accompanied Captain Bishop as surgeon. On reaching 
Atehuru, they found the rebels had taken refuge in their 
Pare or natural fortress, about four miles and a half from 
the beach. This retreat was rendered by nature almost 
impregnable to the native warriors, and the only ave- 
nues leading to it being defended by the barriers its 
occupants had thrown up, it appeared difficult, if not 
impossible, to take it by storm, even with the foreign 
aid by which the king was supported. After spending 
the day in almost harmless firing at the enemy, the 
English and the natives were on the point of embarking 
to return, when the rebels, having been decoyed from 
their encampment by the daring and challenges of an 
active and courageous young man, who had assumed 


the name of To-morrow Morning, chased him and his 
companions down to the seaside. Here they were 
checked by Pomare*s musketeers, and retreated a few 
moments, when they halted, and faced their pursuers ; 
but on the arrival of the English, they were seized with 
a panic, and fled. Seventeen of the rebel warriors, 
including Itua, one of their leaders, were taken, and 
killed on the spot by Pomare ; whose followers, accord- 
ing to their savage rules of war, treated their bodies 
with the most wanton brutality. 

Pomare and his English allies marched the next morn- 
ing to the strong-hold of the natives, and were much 
disappointed at finding it filled with men determined to 
defend it to the last. A female was sent, as a herald, 
with a flag of truce to the warriors in the fortress, inform- 
ing them of the number slain, and proposing to them the 
king's terms of peace. Taatahee, the remaining chief 
of the rebels, who was related to Pomare, directed her 
to tell him, that when they had done to him as they had 
done to Itua the slain chief, then, and not till then, there 
■would be peace. As it appeared improbable that the 
p\ace could be attacked with advantage to the assail- 
ants, and equally improbable that its occupants would 
accept any terms of capitulation that the king would 
offer, Captain Bishop returned to Matavai, and on the 
day following Pomare sailed about twelve miles towards 
Pare. Here he fixed his encampment ; and, although 
peace was not concluded, hostilities appear to have been 
for some time suspended. 

Soon after the return of Captain Bishop, the Nautilus 
sailed ; and the Venus having revisited Tahiti, on the 
19th of the following month, Capt. Bishop with his men 
left the island. 

Dreadful and alarming as these superstitious and 
bloody contests had been, and though still exposed to 
the horrors of savage war, the missionaries, protected 
in their work by the care of Providence, felt that they 

-devote to God and truth, 

And sworn to man's eternal weal, beyond 
Repentance sworn, or thought of turning back," 

and determined, in dependence on Divine protection and 
support, to maintain their station ; diligently to labour, 


and patiently to wait for the reward of their toil. They 
beheld, with deepest distress, their gardens destroyed, 
their trees cut down, — the fences they had reared with 
so much care demolished, — the country around a deso- 
late wilderness, and the inhabitants reduced to a state 
of destitution and wretchedness ; yet they could not 
contemplate the remarkable interposition of Providence, 
in affording them the means of perfect security amid the 
surrounding destruction, without mingled emotions of 
admiration and gratitude. 

The cessation of hostilities afforded the missionaries 
a respite from anxious watching, and allowed them to 
pursue their former avocations. Their gardens were 
again enclosed, and such seeds as they had preserved 
were committed to the ground. The study of the lan- 
guage, which, under the guidance and assistance of Mr. 
Nott, had been regularly pursued one or two evenings 
every week, was resumed. In the instruction of the 
children, the greatest difficulties had been experienced 
from their restless and unrestrained dispositions and 
habits ; for, having been unaccustomed to any steady 
application, or to the least control, they seldom attended 
to their lessons long enough to derive any advantage 
from the efforts of their teachers ; yet, as opportunity 
offered, the missionaries continued to catechise them, 
and to preach to the adults. The natives, however, per- 
severed in their depredations on the little remaining 
property of the mission ; and, in order to deter others, 
one of them who had been detected was publicly flogged 
by the king's order. 

Towards the close of the year 1802, Mr. Jefferson 
and Mr. Scott made the tour of Tahiti, for the purpose 
of preaching to the people. In most of the places they 
were hospitably entertained ; though, on one occasion, 
the chief refused them lodging, because a former mis- 
sionary had not rewarded him for his accommodations. 
In some instances the natives appeared to listen with 
attention and interest to their message, but they fre- 
quently found great difficulty in inducing them to attend, 
and often observed with pain that their instructions 
were received with indifference or with ridicule. At 
one place, though the people on their first arrival wel- 
comed them cordially, yet when they understood the 
object of their visit, a marked, and by no means plead- 
ing, change appeared in their behaviour. 


For many years the first missionaries were variously 
annoyed in almost all their attempts to preach the 
gospel. Sometimes, when they had gone to every 
house in a village, and the people, promising to attend, 
had left their houses, they often found, on reaching the 
appointed place, that only two or three had arrived 
there ; at other times, they either talked all the while 
about their dress, complexion, or features, and endeav- 
oured to irritate the foreigners by false insinuations 
as to the objects of their visit — or to excite the mirth 
of their own companions by ludicrous gestures, or low 
witticisms on the statements that were made. Brainerd 
remarks, that while he was preaching the Indians some- 
times played with his dog; but the first teachers in Ta- 
hiti were often disturbed by a number of natives bring- 
ing their dogs, and setting them to fight on the outside 
of the circle they were addressing ; or they would bring 
their fighting-cocks, and set them at each other, so as 
completely to divert the audience, who would at once 
turn with avidity from the missionary, to the birds or 
the dogs. On some occasions, while they have been 
preaching, a number of Areois, or strolling players, pass- 
ing by, have commenced their pantomime or their dance, 
and drawn away every one of the hearers. At such 
times, those who had stood round the missionary only 
to insult him by their insinuation*, ridicule him by their 
vulgar wit, or afflict his mind by their death-like indiffer- 
ence to the important truths he had declared, have in- 
stantly formed a ring around the Areois, and gazed on 
their exhibitions of folly and of vice with interest and 

In addition to these sources of disturbance, they were 
sometimes charged with being the authors of all the 
disasters and suffering of the people, in consequence of 
praying to their God, whom the natives called a bad 
god, when compared with Oro. Under these circum- 
stances, it required no small degree of forbearance and 
self-possession, as well as patient toil, to persevere in 
preaching the gospel among a people whose spirit and 
conduct afforded so little encouragement to hope it 
would ever be by them received. 

Hitherto their labours had been confined to Tahiti; 
but in December, 1802, Mr. Bicknell, accompanied by 
Mr. Wilson, made a voyage to Eimeo, and, travelling 
round it, preached " the unsearchable riches of Christ" 


to its inhabitants, many of whom appeared to listen 
with earnestness, and desired to be more fully in- 

The same year, in the month of November, Teu, an 
aged and respected chief, the father of Pomare, and the 
grandfather of the king, died at his habitation, not far 
from the mission-house. He was remarkably venera- 
ble in his appearance, being tall and well made, his 
countenance open and mild, his forehead high, his hair 
blanched with age, and his beard as white as silver, 
hanging down upon his breast.* He had led a quiet 
and peaceful life ever since the commencement of the 
mission, was probably the oldest man in the island, and, 
what is rather unusual, died apparently from the ex- 
haustion of nature, or old age. He was esteemed by 
the natives, and supposed to be a favourite with the 
gods. But whenever the missionaries had endeavoured 
to pour into his benighted mind the light of truth, as 
revealed in the sacred volume, it was a circumstance 
deeply regretted by them that he had generally mani- 
fested indifference or insensibility. 

The family at Matavai were exposed to trials, not 
only from the evils of war and the opposition of the 
heathen to their instructions, but also from the false 
reports which were circulated against them. An in- 
stance of this occurred early in the following year, 1803, 
when the Unicorn, a London ship, arrived, on her return 
from the north-west coast of America. Otu, the king, 
suddenly left Matavai, and repaired to his dwelling in 
Pare, incensed against some of the missionaries, who, 
lie was informed, had been endeavouring to prejudice 
the captain against him, that he might not receive any 
presents, and had actually prevented the captain from 
giving the natives the price they had asked for their 
pigs. This report was most unfounded, and it was 
hoped the effects were soon removed. 

About this time the Margaret, in which Captain Byers 
and Mr. Turnbull had visited the islands for purposes of 
commerce, was wrecked on a reef about two hundred 
miles distant; Mr. Turnbull had remained in Tahiti; 
Captain Byers, his officers, and crew, consisting of six- 
teen individuals, with the mate's wife and child, safely 

* In the plate of the Cession of Matavai, he appears standing on the right- 
hand of the king, and immediately behind Ponuue. 


reached that island in a long kind of chest or boat, 
which they had built with the fragments of the wreck. 

Towards the close of the last year, Otu's brother, 
Teariinavahoroa, the young prince of Tairabu, removed 
from the 'smaller peninsula, in consequence of the in- 
crease of his disorder, which appeared to be con- 
sumption. Pomare, his mother ldia, his brother and 
sister, and the chiefs paid him every attention : human 
sacrifices were offered ; and both Pomare and Otu fre- 
quently invoked their gods in his favour, and presented 
the most costly offerings. For a number of days no 
fires were allowed to be lighted, in order that these 
might be effectual : but all were unavailing — the young 
chief, who had scarcely arrived at the age of manhood, 
died in the district of Pare, on the 19th of June, 1803. 
The missionaries frequently visited him after his arrival 
in Pare, and, as far as their scanty means would allow, 
administered cordials suited to his languid state. They 
were, however, most anxious to direct his mind to the 
great Physician of souls, and to lead him to apply for 
those remedies that would heal his spiritual maladies, 
and prepare him for his approaching dissolution. On 
this subject, they noticed with distress, not only the 
unwillingness of his friends that any thing should be 
said, but also the insensibility of the young chieftain 
himself. It was supposed by the people that his illness 
and death were occasioned by the incantations of Metia, 
a priest of Oro, a famous wrestler and sorcerer, whose 
influence, ceremonies, and prayers had induced the evil 
spirits to enter into the young prince, and destroy him. 
Counter-ceremonies were performed ; prayers, called 
faatere, were offered, to drive the evil spirits from him ; 
and these, it was imagined, would all be unavailing, 
should the Europeans direct his mind to any other 
source, or offer on his behalf prayers to any other god ; 
and hence in part might have proceeded the aversion 
of his friends to the presence and efforts of the mis- 

Another large meeting of chiefs, priests, and warriors 
was held during the summer of 1803 at Atehuru, and 
rumours of war were again spread through the land. 
Here Otu once more demanded the body or image of 
the great god Oro, which the chiefs agreed ultimately 
to give up to the custody of the king, but which they 
were not so ready at once to surrender. 


The state of the people was at this time most affect- 
ing. Diseases, introduced by Europeans, were spread- 
ing, unmitigated, their destructive ravages, and some 
members of almost every family were languishing under 
the influence of foreign maladies, or dyiug in the midst 
of their days. The survivors, jealous of the mission- 
aries, viewed them as the murderers of their country- 
men, under the supposition that these multiplied evils 
were brought upon them by the influence of the foreign- 
ers with their God. They did not scruple to tell them 
that He was killing the people ; but that by-and-by, 
when Oro gained the ascendency, they should feel the 
effects of his vengeance. In addition to the diseases 
resulting from their immorality, there were others of a 
contagious and often fatal character, to which the na- 
tives were formerly strangers. These, whether they 
had been conveyed to the islands by the visits of ships, 
or the desertion of seamen afflicted with them, produced 
the most distressing sickness and mortality among the 
people ; and, although nothing could be more absurdly 
imagined, yet, according to their ideas of the causes of 
disease and death, — that they originated in the displea- 
sure of some offended deity, or were inflicted in answer 
to the prayers of some malignant enemy, — they were, 
frcrr. the representations of some and the conjectures of 
others, led to suppose that these diseases were sent by 
the God of the missionaries, in answer to their prayers, 
and because they would not reject Oro and join in their 

At this time an event transpired which threatened at 
first, a revival of all the confusion and desolation of war. 
This was the demise of Pomare, the father of Otu, the 
king. His death was sudden ; he had taken his dinner, 
and was proceeding with two of his attendants in a 
single canoe towards the Dart, a vessel on the point of 
sailing from the bay. While advancing towards the 
ship, he felt a pain in his back, which occasioned him 
involuntarily to start in his seat ; and, placing his hand 
on the part affected, he fell forward in the canoe, and 
instantly expired. The suddenness and circumstances 
of his death, taken in connexion with the troubles in 
which he had recently been engaged with the greater 
part of the people of the island, on account of his vio- 
lent seizure of the idol of Atehuru, strengthened in no 
small degree the idolatrous veneration with which the 


natives regarded their god ; and the anger of Oro was 
by them supposed to be the direct cause of Pomare's 

In person, Pomare, like most of the chiefs of the 
South Sea islands, was tall and stout ; in stature he was 
six feet four inches high, his limbs active and well pro- 
portioned, his whole form and gait imposing. He was 
often seen at Matavai, walking with firm, steady step, 
and using with ease as a walking-stick a club of polished 
iron-wood, that would have been almost sufficient for 
an ordinary native to have earned. His countenance 
was open and prepossessing, his conversation affable, 
though his manner was grave and dignified. He was 
originally only a chief of the district of Pare ; but his 
natural enterprise and ambition, together with the atten- 
tion shown him by the commanders of British vessels, 
their presents of firearms and ammunition, and the aid 
of European seamen, especially the mutineers of the 
Bounty, had enabled him to assume and maintain the 
supreme authority in Tahiti. Though not possessed 
of the greatest personal courage, he was a good politi- 
cian, and a man of unusual activity and perseverance. 
He laboured diligently to multiply the resources of the 
island, and improve the condition of the people, and his 
adherents were always well furnished with all that the 
island afforded. The uncultivated sides of the moun- 
tains, and the low, flat, sandy parts of the shore, seldom 
tilled by the natives, were reclaimed by his industry ; 
and many extensive groves of cocoanut-trees in Tahiti 
and Eimeo, which the inhabitants say were planted by 
Pomare, remain as monuments of his patriotism, and 
yield no small emolument to their present proprietors. 
In all these labours he endeavoured to infuse his own 
spirit into the bosoms of his followers, and to animate 
them by his example, usually labouring with his people, 
and planting with his own hands many of the trees. 

To the mission families he was uniformly kind. 
Shortly before his death, he recommended them to the 
protection of his son ; though the more he understood 
the chief object of their pursuit, the greater aversion, 
he seemed to manifest to it. To the favour of the gods 
he considered himseiV indebted for the aggrandizement 
of his person and family ; and if the missionaries would 
have allowed the claims of Oro or Tane to have re- 
ceived an equal degree of attention to that which they 
C 3 


required for Jehovah, or Jesus Christ, Pomare would 
readily have admitted them ; but when required to re- 
nounce: his dependence upon the idols of his ancestors, 
and to acknowledge Jehovah alone as the true God, he 
at once rejected their message, lie was justly con- 
sidered as the principal support of the idolatry of his 
country. In patronising the idols, and adhering to all 
the requirements of the priests, &c, he appears to have 
been influenced by the constant apprehension of the 
anger of his gods. Ten, his father, was a Tahitiau 
prince; Ins mother was a native of Paiatea; he was 
born in the district of Pare, and at the time of his death, 
which took place on the 3d of September, 1803, was 
between fifty and sixty years of age. 

In the circumstances attending the formation of his 
Character, and in the commencement, progress, and 
result of his public career, there was a striking resem- 
blance between Pomare, the first king of that name in 
Tahiti, and his contemporary, Tamehameha, the first 
king of the Sandwich Islands. Both rose from a com- 
paratively humble station in society to the supreme au- 
thority ; both owed their elevation principally to their 
own energies, and the aid they derived from their inter- 
course with foreigners ; both appeared the main pillars 
of the idolatry of their respective countries ; and both 
left to their heirs the undisputed government of the 
islands they had conquered. Each appeared to have 
possessed natural endowments of a high order, and both 
were probably influenced by ambition. Pomare was 
distinguished by laborious and patient perseverance; 
Tamehameha by bold and daring enterprise. The 
characters of their immediate descendants were in some 
respects similar to each other, though both were very 
different persons from their respective predecessors. 

Otu, the king, was at Atehuru at the time of his father's 
death. He sent several messengers to Pare, command- 
ing the body to be brought to him ; but to this the raa- 
tiras, or resident chiefs, objected. When the mission- 
aries paid a visit of condolence, Idia requested them to 
tell her son it was her wish that the body should remain 
at Pare ; and to this the king consented. 

The death of Pomare did not alter the political state 
of Tahiti ; its only influence on the people was such as 
tended to confirm them in their superstition ; for, on the 
occasion of a religious ceremony, wherein his spirit 


was invoked, and which took place shortly after his 
decease, it was declared that he was seen by Idia and 
one of the priests. To the latter it was said he ap- 
peared, above the waters of the sea, having the upper 
part of his person bound with many folds of finely 
braided cinet. From this circumstance his favourite 
wife assumed the name of Tane m/rua, from tane, a hus- 
band, and rurua, bound round, or bound repeatedly. 

Towards the middle of the year 1804, the king went 
over to Eimeo, taking with him the great idol Oro, to 
propitiate whom so many of the inhabitants had been 
sacrificed. About the same time, Mr. Caw, a shipwright 
from England, joined the mission. Otu now assumed 
the name of Pomare, which has ever since been the 
regal name in Tahiti. Its assumption by his father was, 
as many names are among the Tahitians, perfectly acci- 
dental. He was travelling, with a number of his follow- 
ers in a mountainous part of Tahiti, where it was ne- 
cessary to spend the night in a temporary encampment. 
The chiefs' tent was pitched in an exposed situation ; a 
heavy dew fell among the mountains ; he took cold, 
and the next morning was affected with a cough ; this 
led some of his companions to designate the preceding 
night by the appellation of po-mare, night of cough, from 
po, night, and mare, cough. The chief was pleased with 
the sound of the words thus associated, adopted them 
as his name, and was ever afterward called Po-ma-re. 
With the name he also associated the title of majesty, 
styling himself, and receiving the appellation of " His 
Majesty Pomare." 

Peace continued daring the remainder of the year, 
and the missionaries were enabled to persevere in their 
labours, although they were cheerless, and apparently 
useless. Great attention had, during the last year, been 
paid to the instruction of the children in the short cate- 
chism, in which the first principles of Christianity were 
familiarly exhibited to the minds of the young people. 
Mr. Davies, in particular, had devoted much of his time 
to this work; and, although it had hitherto been found 
impracticable to teach the children letters, a number 
had committed the catechism to memory. The gospel 
was preached, not only in the immediate neighbourhood 
of Matavai, but in every district in Tahiti and Eimeo; 
yet the people seemed more than ever disposed to neg- 
lect or ridicule it. Sometimes they said, " We will hear 


our own gods ;" at other times they scofllngly asked 
the missionaries if the people of Matavai had attended 
to their word ; if the king, or any of his family, had cast 
away Oro ; declaring that when the king and chiefs 
heard the word of Jehovah, then they would also. 

Early in January, 1805, the missionaries prepared a 
larger catechism ; and on the Gth of March they adopted 
their Tahit'an alphabet. In forming this, the Roman 
characters were preferred ; sounds in the Tahitian lan- 
guage attached to them ; and, for the purpose of facili- 
tating the introduction of letters among the people, a 
native name was affixed to each. It was, however, a 
long time before any among the native inhabitants of 
Tahiti could be induced to learn the letters of the alpha- 
bet ; yet the missionaries continued their labours in 
preaching to the people, and teaching the catechism to 
the children. One or two vessels arrived, but brought 
no letters or supplies , and towards the close of the 
year they experienced a heavy loss, in the destruction 
of a large and flourishing plantation. 

Three of the missionaries had cleared, enclosed, and 
cultivated it ; and had rendered it, as far as the produc- 
tions of the island were available, subservient to their 
interests. They had stocked it with cocoanuts, oranges, 
limes, and citrons, of which not fewer than six hundred 
plants, with other productions, were growing remark- 
ably well. In one hour, however, the whole of the fence 
was burnt to the ground, and the plantation destroyed, 
or the few plants that remained were so much injured 
as to be nearly useless. Great as was the loss experi- 
enced on this occasion, they had reason to fear it was 
caused by some of their neighbours, who had designedly 
set fire to the long dry grass immediately to windward 
of the plantation. This was probably done from mo- 
tives of jealousy, lest, by cultivating the land, and reap- 
ing the fruits of it, the foreigners should suppose it had 
become theirs, and the natives cease to be its proprie- 
tors. On this account, much as they suffered by its 
destruction, they deemed it inexpedient to complain to 
the king. 

In the month of January, 1806, Pomare returned from 
Eimeo, bringing with him the idol Oro, which was kept 
in his sacred canoe ; while the human sacrifices offered 
on his arrival were suspended on the trees around. The 
missionaries paid a visit to the king soon after his 


return ; and, as he had become remarkably fond of using 
his pen, he intimated his wish that they should build 
him a small plastered house near their own, in which 
he could attend to his writing without the interruptions 
he experienced in hi* own dwelling. 

Early in the year 1806, the mission was again weak- 
ened by the departure of Mr. Shelly, with his family. 
He relinquished missionary pursuits, and sailed for Port 
Jackson on the 9th of March. 

In the month of July following, the queen of Tahiti 
died, in the district of Pare, after an illness of nearly 
eight weeks. About the time that her indisposition 
commenced, she had become the mother of a still-born 
child ; the sickness that followed, and the fatal termina- 
tion to which it led, were supposed to be the results of 
a cruel and unnatural practice that cannot be described 
— a species of infanticide often resorted to by females 
of high rank in the island, although not unfrequently 
issuing, as was imagined on the present occasion, in the 
death of the perpetrator. Pomare had offered his 
prayers to the gods of his family, and many ceremonies 
had been performed, but to no purpose. The queen 
was in person about the middle stature, mild and affable 
in her behaviour, addicted to all the vices of her coun- 
try, and was cut off in the prime of life, being about 
twenty- four years of age at the time of her death. The 
king and his mother appeared affected with their loss ; 
and the grief of his relatives was severe, as the death 
of so many members of Pomare's family threatened, at 
no very remote period, its total extinction. Pomare 
was left a widower and childless, all the children of the 
late queen having been destroyed. 

Although reports of war were heard during the year, 
there was no actual hostility ; and, under discourage- 
ments every day increasing, the missionaries were ena- 
bled to prosecute their labours. Having found it difficult 
to engage the attention of the children, while attempt- 
ing to teach them in the presence of the adults, who 
ridiculed the idea of their learning letters, they opened 
a school in a part of their own dwelling. In October, 
Mr. Davies proposed to begin with the boys attached 
to their own houses, and met them three nights in the 
week, for the purpose of instructing them in the cate- 
chism, and teaching them to read those few specimens 
of writing they had been able to prepare. At the same 


time, Messrs. Nott and Davies were requested to draw 
up a brief summary of the leading events, and a short 
account of the principal persons mentioned in the Old 
Testament, in the form of a scripture history, for the 
use of these scholars. In the course of the following 
year, a spelling-book, which Mr. Davies had composed 
and used, was sent to England. Here it was printed, 
and afterward transmitted to the islands, for the use of 
the schools. 

No long period had elapsed since the first establish- 
ment of the mission without a vessel's touching at 
Tahiti. By many of these the missionaries had been able 
to write to the directors and to tlieir friends in England, 
and from several they had secured a small supply of 
such articles as they most needed. But since the arri- 
val of the Royal Admiral, in July, 1801, although the 
directors had repeatedly scut out articles to Port Jack- 
son for Tahiti, yet the missionaries had received neither 
supplies nor letters from England. Many vessels had 
saded from Port Jackson, where the supplies were 
lying, and had afterward touched at the island ; but the 
captains, having no intention of doing so when they 
sailed, had refused to take the goods on board. Of tea 
and sugar, and many other comforts, they had long been 
destitute ; and their apparel was scarcely such as to 
enable them to appear respectable in the company of 
any of their countrymen who might visit the island. 
Several of them were some years with only one pair 
of shoes ; and often, in their journeys undertaken for 
the purpose of preaching and instructing the natives, 
they had travelled barefoot. In addition to these priva- 
tions, the gloom and discouragement that depressed 
their spirits, on account of the total want of success 
attending their labours, must have been increased in a 
great degree by the uncertainty and anxiety of remain- 
ing at that remote distance from home five years, with- 
out even once hearing by letter from their native coun- 
try, or their friends. From this distressing state of 
feeling they were in a great measure relieved by the 
arrival of the Hawkesbury, a colonial vessel, which an- 
chored in Matavai Bay on the 25th of November. 1806. 

Since the year 1804, the society in England had au- 
thorized Mr. Marsden to expend annually, for the sup- 
port of the missionaries, two hundred pounds, and had 
also 6ent out supplies. Unable to meet, in Port Jackson^ 


with any vessel proceeding to Tahiti, Mr. Marsden had 
at length engaged the Hawkesbury, a small sloop of 
about twenty tons burden, to take out the letters and 
articles that had been so long delayed. The communi- 
cations from England conveyed to the missionaries the 
welcome and the needed assurance that they were not 
forgotten by their friends at home; but most of the 
articles, especially those of clothing, from the length 
of time they had been lying at Port Jackson, and the 
wretched state of the vessel in which they were sent 
were st> injured as to be almost useless; the packages 
were wet with the sea-water, and their contents conse 
quently spoiled. 

The repeated trials with which the missionaries were 
exercised, the privations they endured, and the painful 
and protracted discouragements by which at this period 
they were depressed, were of no ordinary character. 
Few among modern missionaries have been called to 
endure such afflictions ; and it is matter of devout ac- 
knowledgment that, notwithstanding the darkness of 
their prospects, and the destitution of their circum- 
stances, they were still enabled to persevere, and leave 
the event with Him at whose command they had entered 
on their work. 

Peace continuing in the island during the close of 
1806 and the beginning of 1807, allowed the teachers to 
pursue uninterruptedly their endeavours to plant Chris- 
tianity among the inhabitants, although at that time 
with little prospect of success. 

The ravages of diseases originating in licentiousness, 
or nurtured by the vicious habits of the people, and 
those first brought among them by European vessels, 
appeared to be fast hastening the total desolation of 
Tahiti. The survivors of such as were carried off by 
these means, feeling the incipient effects of disease 
themselves, and beholding their relatives languishing 
under maladies of foreign origin, inflicted, as they sup- 
posed, by the God of the foreigners, were led to view 
the missionaries as in somo degree the cause of their 
suffering ; and frequently not only rejected their mes- 
sage, but charged them with being the authors of their 
misery, by praying against them to their God. "When 
the missionaries spoke to them on the subject of reli- 
gion, the deformed and diseased were sometimes brought 
out and ranged before them, as evidences of the efficacy 


of their prayers, and the destructive power of their 
God. The feelings of the people on this subject were 
frequently so strong, and their language so violent, that 
the missionaries have been obliged to hasten from places 
where they had intended to address the people. In- 
stead of listening with attention, the natives seemed 
only irritated by being, as they said, mocked with prom- 
ises of advantage from a God, by whom, as they ima- 
gined, so much suffering had been inflicted. Under 
these circumstances, their distresses were somewhat 
relieved by the arrival of Mr. Warner, who, after the 
ordinary preparation, had been sent from England in 
the capacity of surgeon to the mission, which he joined 
on the 12th of May, 1807. The strength, however, 
which his arrival added to their establishment was par- 
tially counterbalanced by the removal of Mr. Youl, one 
of those who had arrived in the Royal Admiral, and 
who departed in the vessel that conveyed Mr. Warner 
to Tahiti. 

In the month of June, the flame of war was rekindled 
in Taiarabu, and the district of Atehuru, where the 
king's party suddenly attacked the inhabitants ; and 
after killing upwards of one hundred, including their 
principal chiefs, covered the country with all the mur- 
der and desolation that usually attended the march of 
the infuriated bands through the territories of those 
who were too weak to oppose their progress. Having 
driven to the mountains such as had escaped the 
slaughter in the assault, plundered their houses, and 
afterward reduced them to ashes, the king took the 
bodies of the slain on board his fleet; and, sailing to 
Tautira, offered them in sacrifice to Oro. 

Towards the close of the year, the mission sustained 
a heavy loss in the death of Mr. Jefferson. He was 
one of those missionaries that arrived in the ship Duff; 
he had borne " the heat and burden of the day,'' and 
finished his course on the 25th of September, 1807. 
He was a man of intelligence and ability, possessing ex- 
traordinary devotedness and patient zeal. He had 
laboured unremittingly for ten anxious years; filling, 
with credit to himself and advantage to the mission, 
the most important station among his brethren, by 
whom he was highly and justly respected. He main- 
tained an arduous post among the pioneers of the little 
army of Christian missionaries, who, " unarmed with 


bow and sword," had ventured to attack idolatry in its 
strongest holds among these distant islands ; and, 

"High on the pagan hills, where Satan sat 
Encamped, and o'er the subject kingdoms threw 
Perpetual night, to plant Immanuel's cross, 
The ensign of the gospel, blazing round 
Immortal truth." 

And though he fell upon the field before he heard or 
uttered the shout of victory, his end was peaceful, and 
his hopes were firm. On a visit to Matavai, in the 
early part of 1821, conducted by Mr. Nott, I made a 
pilgrimage to his grave. I stood beside the rustic 
hillock on which the tall grass waved in the breeze, 
and gazed upon the plain stone that marks the spot 
where his head reposes, with feelings of veneration 
for his character. I felt, also, in connexion with the 
change that has since taken place, that he had indeed 
desired to see the things that I beheld, but he had died 
without witnessing, on earth, the gladdening sight ; and 
that, in reference to his unremitted exertions, 1 and my 
junior companions had entered into his labours, and 
were reaping the harvest for which he had toiled. 

Shortly after Mr. Jefferson's death, Mr. Nott, accom- 
panied by Mr. Hayward, visited the islands of Huahine, 
Raiatea, and Borabora ; travelled round each, preaching 
and teaching the people ; and thus, for the first time, 
published among their inhabitants the great truths of 
Christianity. Many of the natives listened with atten- 
tion and apparent interest. The illness of the king 
terminated for a time the war which he had commenced 
against the people of Atehuru, and allowed the mission- 
aries uninterruptedly to pursue their labours in Tahiti. 

Early in 1808, Mr. Elder left this island for Port 
Jackson. Peace at that period everywhere prevailed, 
but it was of short duration. The dissatisfaction of 
the farmers, inferior chiefs, and lower orders of the 
people with Pomare's conduct was daily increasing, and 
his recent massacre of the Atehuruans had greatly 
strengthened their determination to destroy his author- 
ity, and revive the ancient aristocratical form of gov- 
ernment. In the month of October, the missionaries 
received a note from the king, informing them of the 
probability of war, recommending them to be upon their 


fnuird, and not to be deceived or taken by surprise. 
In consequence of this intimation, and the increasing 
signs of approaching hostilities, they established a strict 
nightly watch, and seldom went far from their dwell- 
ing. The preparations for battle were continued on 
both sides ; every morning it was expected that hostili- 
ties would commence before the close of the day, and 
every night it was apprehended that an attack would be 
made before morning. In this state of distressing anx- 
iety, without any means of flying from the gathering 
storm, all the families continued till the 25th of Octo- 
ber, when a vessel from Port Jackson providentially 
anchored in the bay, and, by ensuring a safe retreat in 
the event of sudden assault, afforded no small allevia- 
tion to their minds. 

On the Sabbath-day, the 6th of November, the district 
of Matavai was thrown into great confusion, and num- 
bers of men appeared in arms. The king, who was on 
board the ship at the time, hastened on shore, and was 
only restrained from commencing an immediate attack 
by the counsel of his uncle, who urged the necessity of 
invoking the favour of the gods before commencing 
hostilities. This afforded the people of Matavai time 
to retire, and encamp in the adjoining district with the" 
people of Apaiano. Proposals of peace were sent by 
the king, but the rebels, being reinforced from districts 
to the eastward, refused to meet Pomare, or negotiate 
with him, and war appeared inevitable. 

The king, expecting that his camp, which was at 
Matavai, would be immediately attacked, recommended 
that the wives and children of the missionaries should 
take shelter in the vessel. They embarked on the 7th, 
amid much confusion, but with the sincerest gratitude 
to God for the refuge so seasonably provided. The 
night passed without any attack; several leading chiefs 
whom the rebels expected had not arrived, and the Eu- 
ropeans were thus permitted to pack up a few articles 
for their use on board. The next morning a letter was 
addressed to the captain, requesting him to delay his 
departure forty-eight hours, that they might deliberate 
on the steps necessary to be taken. On the following 
day, the missionaries Nott and Scott, as messengers of 
peace, went alone, unarmed, to the rebel camp at Apai- 
ano, and invited the leaders to an interview with Po- 
mare. The chiefs treated them with every mark of 


friendship, regretted that their establishment should 
suffer from the quarrel between them and the king, and 
requested them not to leave the island. The leaders of 
the rebels refused, however, to meet Pomare except in 
battle, and every hope of accommodation now vanished. 

This disastrous war is called, in the Tahitian tradi- 
tions, the Tamm ra/ii xa Arahuraia, The great war of 
Arahuraia. It was headed by Taute, who had long 
been the king's prime-minister, and who was one of the 
most powerful chiefs and successful warriors on the 
islands. Mis name inspired terror through the ranks 
of his enemies ; and when the king heard that he had 
joined the rebels, he was so much affected that he burst 
into tears. Pomare advised the married missionaries 
to leave the island. They were unanimous in opinion 
that there was no prospect of safety or usefulness, even 
should the rebel chiefs prove their friends ; and this, 
together with the consideration of the little success 
that had attended the labours of so many years, occa- 
sioned their determination to remove. Four of the un- 
married missionaries offered to remain with the king, 
that they might be upon the spot, should any favourable 
change take place ; the others, with most of the Euro- 
peans on the island, sailed from Tahiti on the 10th of 
November, 1808, and arrived the following day at the 
island of Huahine. Here they were hospitably received 
by the chiefs and people. 

The affairs of Tahiti continued in the same state 
until the 22d of December; when the king, influenced 
by Metia the prophet of Oro ; attacked the rebels, who 
were not only superior in numbers, but favoured in the 
conflict by the occupation of an advantageous position. 
Notwithstanding the prophet's prediction of victory, 
Pomare was defeated, and fled with precipitation to 
Pare ; leaving a number of muskets in the hands of his 
enemies, and several principal warriors among the 
slain. Convinced, that though the chiefs of the victo- 
rious army might be friendly to them, yet that they 
could not restrain their followers, who, in time of war, 
threw off all subordination; and expecting that the 
victors, after this success, would instantly attack their 
dwelling, and that their lives were no longer secure, 
the missionaries remaining at Tahiti fled to Eimeo, 
where they were shortly after joined by the king. 
Some months afterward, three of them were compelled 


to follow their companions to Huahine. During their 
residence here, some had made the tour of the island, 
and endeavoured, with but little prospect of success, to 
instruct the inhabitants. 

The melancholy aspect of affairs, their expulsion 
from Tahiti, the total destruction of the settlement, and 
the little probability of a restoration of peace, induced 
them to determine on removing by the first opportunity 
to Port Jackson. This occurred in the course of the 
year ; and on the 26th of October, 1809, they all sailed 
from the islands, excepting Mr. Hay ward, who remained 
in Huahine, and Mr. Nott, who still resided in Eimeo 
with the king. 

After the victory of the 22d of December, 1808, the 
rebels plundered the district of Matavai and Pare, and, 
devoting to destruction every house and plantation, re- 
duced the whole country to a state of the wildest deso- 
lation and ruin. The mission houses were ransacked 
and burnt, and whatever the insurgents were unable to 
carry away was destroyed. Every implement of iron 
was converted into a weapon of war. The most valu- 
able books were either committed to the flames, or dis- 
tributed among the warriors for the purpose of making 
cartridge papers, and the printing types were melted 
into musket balls. 

During such seasons, it was not merely apprehension, 
but actual danger, to which all the Europeans were 
exposed. On one occasion, Mr. Nott, returning from 
a visit to the king, was resting in a native house, when 
a party of the rebels approached the spot ; his native 
companion, one of Pomare's warriors, observing them, 
touched him on the shoulder, and urged him to fly to 
the canoe lying on the beach : he and his fellow trav- 
eller had scarcely pushed off from the shore, when the 
men came up, and finding they had escaped, invited 
them to land, or requested the native to allow the for- 
eigner to walk. Mr. Nott's companion assured him, 
however, that if he landed, his life would certainly be 
taken, merely because he was a friend to the king. 
The natives followed the canoe for some miles, but Mr. 
Nott was mercifully preserved, and reached Matavai in 
safety, indebted, under Cod, to the vigilance and prompt- 
itude of his Tahitian friend for his life. Before this 
time, a musket ball, aimed at a native who had taken 
shelter in his house, was fired through the window of 


the room in which he was sitting; and during another 
war, the spear of one of the king's enemies was already- 
poised, and would in all probability have inflicted a fatal 
wound in his body, had not the interference of one of 
Mr. Nott's friends, at the moment, saved him from the 
deadly thrust. 

It is not easy to form an accurate idea of the distress 
of the last missionaries who reluctantly left Tahiti, 
when they beheld their gardens demolished, their houses 
plundered and burnt, their pupils engaged in all the bar- 
barity of a savage war ; and the people, among whom 
they had hoped to introduce order, and peace, and hap- 
piness, doomed to the complicated miseries attending 
anarchy, idolatry, and the varied horrors of cruelty and 
vice. The enterprise in which they had embarked 
had at its commencement united in bonds of disinter- 
ested philanthropy parties before but seldom associated ; 
and had, by a vigorous and combined movement, in force 
and magnitude surpassingany thing that had beenhitherto 
attempted by British Christians, introduced a new era 
in the missionary efforts of modern times. It had ex- 
cited among all classes the liveliest interest, called 
forth splendid efforts of sacred eloquence, and noble 
deeds of Christian benevolence ; but, painful and deeply 
humiliating as it was, it now appeared to those devoted 
servants of God who had, amid protracted and severe 
privations, maintained their ground till life was no longer 
secure— after having engaged the pravers of the people 
of God, and waited in vain for the results of patient 
and self-denying toil, during twelve eventful years — 
that the scene of their labour must be abandoned. 

Their enemies at home became bold in denouncing 
the enterprise as the wild project of extravagance and 
folly, and stamping upon its projectors and conductors 
the impress of the blindest fanaticism. Even those 
who, though they had not condemned the scheme as 
Utopian and visionary, had withheld their sanction and 
their aid, now pointed to the deserted field as a demon- 
stration of the soundness of their judgment, and an ex- 
planation of their conduct. There were others also, 
who, whatever might be their opinion of the measure 
itself, and however they might approve or disapprove 
of the choice of those with whom it originated, in the 
selection of the most distant, isolated, and, as it regarded 
the moral character of the inhabitants, the most un- 


promising parts of the world, for the first field of their 
labours, considered its projectors as influenced in a great 
degree by self-confidence, and a desire of aggrandize- 
ment or applause. It has sometimes been unwarrant- 
ably insinuated, that the founders of the Missionary 
Society expected to convert the heathen to Christianity 
by their own energy ; and the allegation has been oc- 
casionally repeated since those days, — perhaps, in some 
instances, to increase the impression produced by the 
accounts of the recent changes which have taken place 
in those islands, contrasting the former and latter re- 
sults of missionary labours, and representing them as 
demonstrations of the impotency of man, and the power 
of the Most High. The lively feeling that attended the 
establishment of the Missionary Society, the liberality 
of the principles recognised as its basis, and the com- 
bination of different parties in its support, were at that 
time adapted to excite in minds of a cautious and delib- 
erative habit, and fearful of innovation, the apprehension 
that it had originated in a desire, on the part of its 
projectors, to signalize themselves, and secure a name' 
and influence in the Christian world, to which they 
were not otherwise entitled. Individuals, whose minds 
were deeply imbued with the subject, who had identi- 
fied themselves with its progress and its results, and 
had embarked not only their influence, but much of 
their property, in the undertaking, might, and probably 
did, under the ardour of their feelings, indulge on some 
occasions in a splendour of imagery, and a richness of 
description, that exceeded the sober realities of fact : 
but they never imagined that they could subvert any 
system of idolatry by their own agency ; or that their 
efforts would be in any degree effectual for the conver- 
sion of'the people, but as they were attended by the 
influence of the Holy Spirit. There might be, and per- 
haps was, a more confident hope of the speedy accom- 
plishment of the object than now prevails; but the ap- 
peals and addresses delivered at that period manifest 
a deep conviction of human insufficiency, and breathe 
a spirit of entire dependence upon the blessing of God. 
But although Tahiti was, by the departure of the mis- 
sionaries, surrendered, for a season, as a prey to the 
spoiler, and subjected to the rule of ignorance, barba- 
rism, and idolatry, it was not abandoned by Him, in 
obedience to whose command to " go and teach all 


nations," the mission had been undertaken. He had still 
"thoughts of mercy" towards its inhabitants, and was, 
by this distressing' event, teaching those who had under- 
taken the work — and instructing his church in regard to 
all their future efforts to extend his gospel — that single- 
ness of aim, purity of motive, and patient diligence in 
labour were of themselves insufficient for the work ; 
that it was by His Spirit that the heathen were to be 
converted; and without His blessing Paul might plant, 
and Apollos might water, in vain. 


Conduct of Ihe rebels — Discouraging impressions under which the mission- 
aries abandoned t tie islands— Invitation from I'omare lo return — Slate ofthe 
king's mind during his exile in Eirneo — His reception of t lie missionaries — 
Deal h of three of their number — Influence of domestic bereavement on the 
missionary life — 1'omare's profession of Christianity— Application lor bap- 
tism — Demonstration of the impotency of their idols — Proposal to erect a 
place of worship — I x tracts from his correspondence— Influence of his steady 
adherence to Christianity — Ridicule and persecv-.^l to which he was 
exposed — Visit of missionaries to Tahiti — Valley of Ilautaua — Ouu and 

The rebels were no sooner masters of the island, than 
they resolved to pursue the most efficacious methods 
of establishing and perpetuating their power: arms and 
ammunition they regarded as the best means of accom- 
plishing this ; and in order to secure these, as well as 
extend their conquests, they determined to murder the 
captain and officers, and to seize the first vessel that 
should arrive. The missionaries, aware of this, wrote 
a letter of precaution, which they gave to a native to 
hand to the master of the first ship that might touch 
there. The Venus schooner, however, arrived, and was 
seized by the people before the native could deliver his 
letter: the master and seamen were not murdered, but 
kept prisoners, to be offered in sacrifice to Oro. The 
Hibernia, Captain Campbell, also arrived shortly after- 
ward ; but Captain Campbell, receiving the letter, was 
warned of his danger, and not only secured his own 
vessel, but succeeded in rescuing the schooner and her 

In the year 1809, Mr. Nott alone remained with the 



king and the people in the island of Eimeo ; the other 
missionaries, with the exception of Mr. Hayward, re- 
moved from Huahine to Port Jackson. Although the 
gospel had been faithfully and constantly preached for 
some years in Tahiti, occasionally in most of the other 
islands, and many of the people had imbibed a tolerably 
clear speculative knowledge of the leading doctrines 
taught in the sacred volume, yet there was no individ- 
ual on whom they could look as having been benefited 
by their instructions — no one whose mind was savingly 
enlightened, or whose heart had experienced any moral 
change. Discouraging as these circumstances were, 
the missionaries would not have abandoned their sta- 
tion, but for the destruction with which the civil war 
and the defeat of the king seriously threatened them ; 
and, in addition to this darkened aspect of affairs, as it 
regarded the success of their enterprise, the state of 
feeling, bordering on hopeless despair, under which 
they departed from the islands, greatly augmented their 
distress. On their arrival in New South Wales, they 
were received with kindness by their friends; and a feel- 
ing of compassion at their disasters, and sympathy in 
their distress, was manifested by the governor, the Rev. 
S. Marsden the principal chaplain, and other friends of 
the mission. 

While in Port Jackson they received affectionate and 
encouraging letters from the society and their friends 
in England, and communications of a most touching, 
yet confident kind, from the king, who invited their 

The way being thus opened for the resumption of 
their work, and depending on the blessing of God, they 
again embarked, in the autumn of 1811, for the islands. 
During their absence, Pomare had remained excluded 
from his hereditary, dominions, and in exile on the 
island of Eimeo. Whether the melancholy reverses he 
had experienced, and the depression of spirits conse- 
quent upon the dissolution of his government and the 
desolation of his family, led him to doubt the truth of 
that system of idol-worship to which he had been de- 
voted, and on which he had invariably relied for success 
in every enterprise — or whether the leisure it afforded 
for contemplation and inquiry, under the influence of 
these feelings, inclined him to reflect more seriously 
on the truth of those declarations he had often heard 


respecting the true God, and to consider his present con- 
dition as the chastening of that Being whom he had re- 
fused to acknowledge — it is impossible to determine ; 
but these disastrous events had evidently subdued his 
spirit and softened his heart. 

When the missionaries who returned from Port Jack- 
son landed in Eimeo, the king received them with the 
warmest demonstrations of joy. Mr. and Mrs. Bick- 
nell, the first who arrived, resided some time in the same 
house with him. He spent much of his time in reading 
and writing, in conversation, and in earnest inquiry about 
God, and the way of acceptance with Him, through Jesus 
Christ, — and sometimes spoke in terms astonishing 
even to the missionaries themselves. One or two other 
natives appeared also favourably impressed in regard to 
the religion ot the Bible. Under these auspicious ap- 
pearances, although prevented by the unsettled state 
of Tahiti from resuming their station in Matavai, the 
missionaries were enabled to commence their labours 
in the island of Eimeo. They also indulged a hope of 
establishing a mission in Raiatea, one of the Leeward 
or Society Islands, when a series of domestic trials frus- 
trated their plans of extended usefulness, and confined 
them for several years to this island. 

On the 28th of July, 1812, Mrs. Henry finished her 
earthly career. She had accompanied her husband 
from her native country in the ship Duff, with the first 
missionaries who landed in Tahiti. In all the trials of 
the mission she had sustained her part; and, with un- 
wavering devotedness to its interests, had endeavoured 
to perform with efficiency and cheerfulness the duties 
of her station, until her life fell a sacrifice to the priva- 
tions and toils of her eventful and perilous career. It 
was, however, a sacrifice cheerfully offered on her part. 
Her memory was greatly esteemed by those who had 
borne with her the burden of the day, and survived her 
in the field. In a letter to the directors of the London 
Missionary Society, under the date of June 24, 1813, the 
Rev. S. M«rsden thus wrote of Mrs. Henry : " No woman, 
in my opinion, could be more sincere, and more devoted 
to the work, than she was. Her natural disposition 
was amiable, her piety unaffected, and her love for the 
poor heathens unfeigned. I trust she is now resting 
from her labours in Abraham's bosom ; and that some 
poor heathens among whom she had lived have gone 

Vol. II.— D 


before, and that some will follow after, to glory." This 
afflictive bereavement was followed by another equally 
painful, namely, the death of Mrs. Davies, — which took 
place on the 4th of the following September. Hei dis- 
consolate partner had scarcely received the sympathies 
of his companions in exile and labour, when the newly- 
closed grave of the mother was opened again to receive 
the remains of an infant daughter, who survived its 
parent but three short weeks. In one week more. Mrs. 
Hayward terminated in death her sufferings, and was 
buried by the side of her departed sisters. Hence the 
letters which conveyed to England the animating tidings 
of the first dawning of a brighter day on Tahiti con- 
veyed also the sad recital of these inroads of death; 
and well might the missionaries on that occasion " sing 
of mercy and of judgment." 

"When death enters a family, and removes a wife and 
a mother from the domestic circle, though every alle- 
viation which society, friendship, and religion can im- 
part are available, there is a chasm left, and a wound 
inflicted on the survivors, which must be felt in order 
to be understood : when death repeatedly enters in this 
way a family connexion, the distress is proportionably 
augmented ; but it is impossible to form an adequate 
idea of the desolateness of the mission family (for such 
it might be called) at this time, and the cheerless soli- 
tude of those thus bereft of the partners of their days, 
and the mothers of their children. They were left to 
sustain alone the toils, sorrows, and privations of their 
remote and isolated station, and to pursue in solitary 
pilgrimage the arduous and rugged track in which the 
providence of God had called them to walk, far from the 
sympathy of the kindred and friends of the departed. 
They were equally remote from all the kind attentions 
of tenderest friendship, the rich consolations of Chris- 
tian intercourse, and the public ordinances of that re- 
ligion which is alone adapted to impart effectual con- 
solation. Cut off also from the endearments of home, 
the pleasures of society in civilized life, the satisfaction 
derived from books, and the reciprocal interchange of 
all the offices of friendship, the only earthly solace a 
missionary enjoys among an uncivilized people, except 
what he derives from his work, is found in the social 
endearments of the domestic circle. However remote 
from the land of his nativity may be its locality, how- 


ever humble its structure, however rude its appendages, 
or limited its sources of comfort, compared with what 
in other parts may be enjoyed, — around his rustic 
hearth, and in the bosom of his family, he finds the 
scene of his richest earthly felicity. In any situation, 
bereavements such as those which befell the little band 
at Eimeo at this time would have been distressing : to 
the missionaries they were peculiarly so. The chan- 
nels of comfort were dried up, and though they had free 
access to the Fountain of all blessedness and consola- 
tion, and were enabled to say, " He hath done all things 
well," yet their trial must have been peculiarly poign- 
ant and oppressive. It is remarkable, that at a period 
of such unparalleled domestic distress, the most en- 
couraging appearances of the Divine favour towards the 
nation around them should have been afforded ; and it 
is probable that the very cheering prospects under which 
they were at this time called upon to pursue their mis- 
sionary engagements greatly alleviated their sorrow. 

They had established public worship, Mr. Davies had 
opened a school, an increased and pleasing attention 
had been manifested by several to the instructions com- 
municated ; and only ten days before the death of Mrs. 
Henry, Pomare, the king of Tahiti, publicly professed 
his belief in Jehovah the true God, and his determina- 
tion to serve him. He also requested to be baptized, 
and to become one of the disciples of the Lord Jesus 
Christ, assuring the missionaries that his resolution to 
give himself up to God was the result of long and in- 
creasing conviction of the truth and superiority of the 
religion of the Bible, expressing at the same time his 
desire to be more fully instructed in the matters to 
which it referred. 

Pomare had for some time past shown his contempt 
for the idols of his ancestors, and his desire to be taught 
a more excellent way, that he might obtain the favour 
of the true God. The natives had watched the change 
in his mind with the most fearful apprehension, as to its 
results upon the minds of his subjects. They were 
powerfully affected on one occasion when a present was 
brought him of a turtle, which had always been held 
sacred, and dressed with sacred fire within the precincts 
of the temple, part of it being invariably offered to the 
idol. The attendants were proceeding with the turtle 
to the marae, when Pomare called them back, and told 
D 2 


them to prepare an oven to bake it in his own kitchen, 
and serve it up, without offering: i f - u > tMe idol. The 
people around were astonished, and could hardly believe 
the kino: was in a state of sanity, or was really in ear- 
nest. The king repeated his direction ; a fire was 
made, the turtle baked, and served up at the next repast. 
The people of the king's household stood in mute ex- 
pectation of some fearful visitation of the god's anger, 
as soon as he should touch a morsel of the fish ; by which 
he had, in this instance, committed, as they imagined, 
an act of daring impiety. The king cut up the turtle, 
and began to eat it, inviting some that sat at meat with 
him to do the same ; but no one could be induced to 
touch it, as they expected every moment to see him 
either expire or writhe in strong convulsions. The 
king endeavoured to convince his companions that their 
idea of the power of the gods was altogether imaginary, 
and that they had been the subjects of complete de- 
lusion ; but the people could not believe him : and al- 
though the meal was finished without any evil result, 
they carried away the dishes with many expressions 
of astonishment, confidently expecting some judgment 
would overtake him before the morrow, for they could 
not believe that an act of sacrilege such as lie had been 
guilty of could be committed with impunity. 

The conduct and conversation of Pomare in reference 
to the gods, on this and similar occasions, must neces- 
sarily have weakened the influence of idolatry on the 
minds of those by whom he was attended ; and if it pro- 
duced no immediate and salutary effect on them, it 
doubtless confirmed his own belief in the vanity of idols, 
and the folly of indulging either hope or fear respecting 
them. A number of the principal chiefs of the Leeward 
Islands, as well as the adherents to his cause, and the 
friends of his family in Tahiti, constantly resided with 
the king, after his expulsion from the island of his an- 
cestors, and accompanied him on his return to resume 
his former government. He spared no efforts favour- 
ably to impress them in regard to Christianity ; but to no 
purpose for a long time. When he offered himself for 
baptism, he stated that he had endeavoured to persuade 
Tamatoa, his father-in-law, and Tapoa, the king and 
principal chief of Raiatea, to renounce idolatry, and be- 
come the disciples of Jesus Christ ; but they had assured 
him, whatever he might do, they would adhere to Oro. 


Others expressed the same determination ; and Pomare 
came forward alone, requesting baptism, and desiring 
to hear and obey the Word of God, as he said " he de- 
sired to be happy after death, and to be saved at the day 
of judgment." He did not confine his efforts to private 
conversation, but in public council urged upon Tamatoa 
and Mahine, the chiefs of Kaiatea and Huahine, the adop- 
tion of the Christian religion; hereby publicly evincing his 
own determination to adhere to the choice he had made. 
The missionaries had every reason to believe that 
the king was sincere in his desires to become a Chris- 
tian ; but as they then deemed only those who were 
true converts to Christianity proper subjects for the 
rite of baptism, and feared that his mind might not be 
sufficiently informed on the nature and design of that 
ordinance, and that he was rather an earnest inquirer 
after divine truth than an actual possessor of its moral 
principle and spiritual influence, they proposed to him 
to defer his baptism until he had received more ample 
instruction. They were also desirous to receive addi- 
tional evidence of his sincerity, and of the uprightness 
and the purity of his conduct during a longer period 
than they had yet observed it. The king acquiesced 
in their proposal, and requested their instructions. 

At the same time that the king thus publicly desired 
to profess Christianity, he proposed to erect a large 
and substantial building for the worship of the true 
God. His own affairs remained unsettled and discour- 
aging ; he was still in exile ; and rumours of war not 
only prevailed in Tahiti, but invasion threatened Eimeo. 
This island the missionaries considered only as a tem- 
porary residence, till they should be able to resume 
their labours in Tahiti, or establish a mission in the 
Leeward Islands, and therefore recommended him to 
defer it. But he replied, " No, let us not mind these 
things ; let it be built." 

Shortly after this important event, which may justly 
be considered as the dawning of that day, and the first 
ray of that light, which has since shed such lustre, and 
beamed with such power, upon these isles of the sea, 
two chiefs arrived from Tahiti, inviting Pomare to 
return and resume his government, promising an ami- 
cable adjustment of their differences. The interests of 
his kingdom appeared to require his concurrence with 
their proposal, and on the 13th of August, in less 


than a month after the pleasing event referred to, he 
sailed with them from Eimeo, followed by the chiefs 
and people from the Leeward Islands, and most of the 
inhabitants of Papetoai and its vicinity. His depart- 
ure in this critical state of mind was much to be 
regretted, as it deprived him of the instructions of his 
teachers, and exposed him to many temptations and 
much persecution. 

Pomare in infancy had been rocked in the cradle of 
paganism, and trained under its influence through sub- 
sequent life. His father Pomare, and his mother Idia, 
were probably more infatuated with idolatry, and more 
uniformly attached to the idols and every institution 
connected with their worship, than even the priests, or 
perhaps any other individuals in the islands. He had 
been early initiated in all the mysteries of falsehood and 
abomination connected with the system, and had en- 
gaged with avidity in the bloody and murderous rites 
of idol-worship. In addition to this, he had been 
nurtured amid the debasing and polluting immorality 
-for which his country, ever since its discovery, had 
been distinguished ; and although his ideas of the 
moral perfections of the true God might be but indis- 
tinct, and his views of the purity required by the gos- 
pel but partial, yet it might naturally be expected that 
the convictions of guilt in such an individual, when first 
awakened to a sense of the nature and consequence 
of sin, would be deep and severe. That this was ac- 
tually the case appears from several letters which he 
wrote to the missionaries soon after his arrival in 
Tahiti, as well as from the conversation they had with 
him on the subject. 

In a letter dated Tahiti, September 25, 1812, he thus 
expresses himself: " May the anger of Jehovah be 
appeased towards me, who am a wicked man, guilty 
of accumulated crimes, — of regardlessne^s and igno- 
rance of the true God, and of an obstinate perseve- 
rance in wickedness ! May Jehovah also pardon my 
foolishness, unbelief, and rejection of the truth ! May 
Jehovah give me his good spirit to sanctify my heart, 
that I may love what is good, and that I may be en- 
abled to put away all my evil customs, and become one 
of his people, and be saved through Jesus Christ, our 
only Saviour ! I am a wicked man, and my sins are 
great and accumulated. But O that we may all be 


saved, through Jesus Christ." Referring to his illness 
about this time, he said, " My affliction is great ; but 
if I can only obtain God's favour before I die I shall 
count myself well. But oh ! should I die with my 
sins unpardoned, it will be ill indeed with me. O ! may 
my sins be pardoned, and my soul saved, through Jesus 
Christ ! May Jehovah regard me before I die, and 
then I shall rejoice, because I have obtained favour of 

In another letter, written about a fortnight after- 
ward, he observes, " I continue to pray to God with- 
out ceasing. Regardless of other things, I am con- 
cerned only that my soul may be saved by Jesus Christ ! 
It is my earnest desire that I may become one of 
Jehovah's people, and that God may turn away his 
anger from me, which I deserve for my wickedness, 
my ignorance of him, and my accumulated crimes !" 
In February, 1813, he wrote to the following effect: — 
" The Almighty can (or will) make me good. I ven- 
ture with my guilt (or evil deeds) to Jesus Christ, 
though I am not equalled in wickedness, not equalled 
in guilt, not equalled in obstinate disobedience, and 
rejection of the truth, hoping that this very wicked man 
may be saved by Jehovah Jesus Christ." 

Such was the interesting state of Pomare's mind at 
the close of the year 1812, and the commencement of 
1813. At the same time that this event shed such light 
upon the prospects of the missionaries, other circum- 
stances concurred to confirm them in the conviction 
that God was about to favour in a signal manner their 
enterprise, to follow their labours with his blessing, 
and with still greater success. Of one or two other 
natives they had every reason to hope most favourably, 
while one, who died about this time, left a pleasing 
testimony behind of repentance and relianco on the 
pardoning mercy of God. 

The king's visit to Tahiti did not succeed so well as 
the messengers had promised, or his friends had anti- 
cipated : rumours of war prevailed in the western and 
southern parts of the island, and many of the chiefs 
sent professions of subjection, but the continuance of 
such acknowledgment was uncertain. Some of his 
ablest allies, especially Tapoa the chief of Raiatea, 
were removed by death and the others prepared to 
return to their own islands. Early in the following 


year, the district of Matavai was surrendered to Pomare, 
but he was justly doubtful of the sincerity of the sur- 
render. Amid all these unfavourable circumstances, 
he continued bold and uncompromising in his renun- 
ciation of the idols, and every rite of idolatry ; ob- 
serving the Sabbath, and on every suitable occasion 
exhibiting the truth and excellence of the religion of 
Jesus Christ. Although this honourable conduct pro- 
duced a surprising effect upon the minds of many of 
the inhabitants of Tahiti and Eimeo, who considered 
the king better acquainted both with the religion of the 
natives and that of the foreigners than any other person 
in the islands ; it procured him many enemies, and ex- 
posed him to no ordinary degree of ridicule and per- 
secution, or contempt, not only from his idolatrous 
rivals, but from his allies, and the members of his house- 
hold and family. These attributed all his reverses to 
the respect he had shown the missionaries, and the 
inclination he had indulged towards their God ; and 
declared that he need not expect his affairs to be 
retrieved, since he had forsaken the gods of his ances- 
tors, and insulted those to whom his family was in- 
debted for the elevated distinction to which it had been 
raised in Tahiti and the neighbouring islands. Pomare, 
however, was uninfluenced by any of these represent- 
ations, and, notwithstanding the embarrassed state of 
his affairs, and the uncertainty of the result to which 
the present agitation, and the approaching national 
assembly of chiefs and people, might lead, and though 
his friends added insult and reproach to his misfortunes, 
he remained steadfast. 

The communications between Tahiti and Eimeo were 
now frequent, and the repeated accounts of Pomare's 
persevering and laudable endeavours to enlighten the 
minds of his subjects were not the only cheering tidings 
they received. Mr. Bicknell went over in a vessel 
bound to the Pearl Islands, and in a few days returned 
with the pleasing report that a spirit of inquiry had 
been awakened among some of the inhabitants of that 
island, and that two of those they had formerly in- 
structed had occasionally met to pray to God. In order 
to ascertain the nature and extent of the desire which 
had been excited, and to confer with the individuals 
under its influence, Messrs. Scott and Hay ward, having 
been deputed by their companions to visit Tahiti, sailed 


over from Eimeo on the 15th June, 1813. Although 
the king was residing in Matavai, they landed in the 
district of Pare, and proceeding to the valley of Hau- 
taua, they learned that the report was correct, and that 
in the neighbourhood there were some who had re- 
nounced idolatry, and professed to believe in Jehovah, 
the true God. 

On the following morning, according to the usual 
practice when travelling among the people, they retired 
to the bushes near their lodgings for meditation and 
secret prayer. The houses of the natives, however 
large they might be, never contained more than one 
room, and were generally so crowded with people that 
retirement was altogether unattainable. While seek- 
ing this about the dawn of the day on the morning after 
their arrival, Mr. Scott heard a voice at no great dis- 
tance from his retreat. It was not. a few detached 
sentences that were spoken, but a continued address ; 
not in the lively tone of conversation, but solemn as 
devotion, or pathetic as the voice of lamentation and 

A variety of feelings led him to approach the spot 
whence these sounds proceeded, in order to hear more 
distinctly. O, what hallowed music must have broken 
on his listening ear, and what rapture must have thrilled 
his soul, when he distinctly recognised the voice of 
prayer, and heard a native, in the accents of his mother- 
tongue, with an ardour that proved his sincerity, ad- 
dressing petitions and thanksgivings to the throne of 
mercy. It was the first time he knew that a native on 
Tahiti had prayed to any but his idols ; it was the first 
native voice in praise and prayer that he had ever 
heard, and he listened almost entranced with the ap- 
propriate and glowing language of devotion then em- 
ployed, until his feelings could be restrained no longer. 
Tears of joy started from his gladdened eye, and 
rolled in swift succession down his cheeks, while he 
could scarcely forbear rushing to the spot, and clasp- 
ing in his arms the unconscious author of his ecstasy. 
He stood transfixed as it were to the earth till the native 
retired, when he bowed his knees, and, screened from 
human observation by the verdant shrubs, offered up. 
under the canopy of heaven, his grateful adoration to 
the Most High, under all the melting of soul and the 

D 3 


excitement of spirit which the unprecedented, unex- 
pected, though long-desired events of the morning had 
inspired. When the missionaries met at the house in 
which they had lodged, the good tidings were commu- 
nicated, the individual was sought out, and they were 
cheered with the simple yet affecting account he gave 
of what God had done for his own soul, and of the 
serious impressions then operating on the minds of 
several of his countrymen. 

His name was then Oito, though it is now Petero ; 
he had formerly been an inmate of the mission family 
at Matavai, and had received instructions there. He 
had occasionally been with the kingr since his return 
to Tahiti, and some remarks from Pomare had awa- 
kened convictions of sin in his conscience. Anxious to 
obtain direction and relief, yet having no one to whom 
he could unburden his mind with hopes of suitable 
guidance, he applied to Tuahine, who had for a long 
time lived with the missionaries ; hence Oito inferred 
he would be able to direct him aright. Tuahine has 
since rendered the most important services to the mis- 
sion by aiding Mr. Nott in the translations. When 
the Gospel by John and the Acts of the Apostles were 
finished, and Mr. Nott left Huahine in July, 1819, he 
removed to Raiatea, his native island, where he has 
since been not only a useful member of society and 
an ornament to the religion he professes, but an officer 
in the Christian church in Raiatea. 

Tuahine's mind on the subject of the Christian reli- 
gion was at this period in a state resembling that of 
Oito's. Their conversation deepened their impres- 
sions ; they frequently met afterward for ihis purpose, 
and often retired to the privacy of the sequestered val- 
leys or verdant shrubberies adjacent to their dwell- 
ings, for conversation and prayer. The singularity of 
their conduct, together with the report of the change 
in the sentiments of the king soon attracted observa- 
tion : many derided them, but several young men and 
boys attached themselves to Oito and Tuahine, and this 
little band, without any missionary to teach them, or 
even before any one was acquainted with the circum- 
stance, agreed to refrain from worshipping the idols — 
from the evil practices of their country — to observe 
the Sabbath-day, and to worship Jehovah alone. They 


had established among themselves a meeting for prayer, 
which they held on the Sabbath, and often assembled 
at other times for social worship. 

This intelligence was like life from the dead to the 
missionaries; they thanked God, and took courage; 
but, before commencing their journey round Tahiti, 
they wrote to their brethren in Eimeo an account of 
what they had seen and heard : declaring all that they 
had heard was true, that God had " also granted to the 
gentiles repentance unto life," that some had cast away 
their idols, and were stretching out their hands in prayer 
to God, &c. The effect of their letter was scarcely 
less on the minds of the missionaries in Eimeo than the 
recital had been to themselves in Tahiti. They were 
deeply affected, even unto tears. I have often heard 
Mr. Nott speak, with evident indications of strong feel- 
ing, of the emotions with which this letter was read. 
And when we consider the long and cheerless years 
which he and some of his associates had spent in fruit- 
less, hopeless toil on that unpromising field, the reason- 
able prospect of an ultimate harvest, which these facts 
certainly warranted, was adapted to produce unusual 
and exalted joys, — emphatically a missionary's own, — 
joys "that a stranger intermeddleth not with." 

Messrs. Scott and Hayward made the tour of Tahiti, 
preaching to the people whenever they could collect a 
congregation, and then returned to Eimeo with Tuahine, 
Oito, and their companions, — who accompanied them, 
in order to attend the school, and receive more ample 
instruction in those things respecting which, though 
formerly so indifferent, they were now most anxious to 
be informed. 

Tuahine was born in the island of Raiatea, but had 
been some time residing in the inland parts of the dis- 
trict of Pare. Oito was an inhabitant, if not a native, 
of Hautaua, and in this lovely, verdant, and sequestered 
valley the first native meeting for prayer was held, and 
the first associated vows were paid to Heaven. 

I was personally acquainted with Oito while he resided 
in Eimeo, and have often passed along the mouth or 
opening of this valley, but regret that I never had an 
opportunity of traversing its interior, and visiting the 
abode of Oito, or the sites of the rural oratories of the 
first Christians in Tahiti. Hautaua valley is an interest- 


ing spot, not only on account of the events connected 
with the early history of Christianity, which transpired 
within its borders, but also from the peculiarity of its 


First record of the names of the professors ofChristianity — Taaroarii's rejection 
of idolatrous ceremonies— Determinaiion of Patii, the priest of Papetoai — 
Idols publicly burnt at Uaeva, in Eimeo — Increase of the scholars — Con- 
tempt and persecution on account of l he profession of Christianity --Baneful 
influence of idolairy on social intercourse — Humiliating circumstances to 
winch its institutes reduced the female sex — Happy change in domestic 
society attending the introductiiHi ofChristianity — Persecution of the Chris- 
tians — Worshippers of the true God sought as victims for sacrifice to the 
pagan idols— Notice of Abcraharna — Martyrdom in Tahiti. 

Soon after the return of Messrs. Scott and Hayward 
from Tahiti, indications of the same convictions and 
inquiry were occasionally manifested in Eimeo ; and 
on the 25th of July, 1813, which was the Sabbath, the 
first place for public worship erected in the island of 
Eimeo was opened. It was also the first building in 
the islands ever used by the natives for this sacred pur- 
pose. The exercises of the day were highly interest- 
ing both to the missionaries and their little band of 
followers. At the close of the evening service Mr. 
Davies gave notice, according to previous arrange- 
ments, that on the following morning a public meeting 
would be held ; when all who had sincerely renounced 
their false gods, who had desired also to relinquish 
their evil customs, to receive Jehovah for their God, and 
to be instructed in his Word, were invited to attend. 
Forty natives came at the time appointed ; the design 
of the meeting was explained by Mr. Nott. It was to 
urge those who were decided, and wished to become 
sincere disciples of Jesus Christ, to make their desires 
known — that the missionaries might pay them special 
attention, and give them suitable instructions : they 
listened attentively, and many appeared deeply affected. 
They were afterward individually interrogated as to 
their desires in reference to these important matters : 
during this inquiry thirty-one declared that they had 
renounced the idols, their worship, and every practice 


connected with idolatry ; wishing to abandon every- 
thing contrary to the Word of God. These thirty-one 
requested to have their names written down, as those 
who desired to worship God, and to become disciples 
of Christ. Others said they intended to cast away their 
idols, but did not wish to have their names written 
down at that time. All who felt inclined to come 
were invited, but none were urged. The names of 
these thirty-one were written down; and among the 
first of them, Oito and Tuahine's were to be seen. In 
writing down the names of those who thus publicly 
professed Christianity, the missionaries were influenced 
by a desire, not only to instruct them more fully, but 
to become personally acquainted with them, and to 
exercise over them a guardian care, which they could 
not do without knowing their names, places of abode, 
&c. To their number eleven more were soon added ; 
and with these they afterward held frequent meetings, 
for the purpose of informing their minds, and encoura- 
ging them to faithfulness in their attachment to the 
Redeemer. Among the last number was Taaroarii, the 
young chief of Huahine and Sir Charles Sanders's 
Island ; and Matapuupuu, a principal Areoi, and chief 
priest of Huahine, who had long been one of the main 
pillars of idolatry in the island to which he belonged. 

On the 28th of July, 1813, a number of Areois visited 
Taaroarii's encampment at Teataebua, five miles from 
Papetoai, the missionary settlement : prepared an 
entertainment, invited him to attend, and, before it 
commenced, were about to perform some heathen rites 
connected with the food they were to eat, and to de- 
liver an oration, in which his rank, descent, and con- 
nexion with the gods by origin and family, and his 
future place among them, were to have been detailed. 
This Taaroarii strictly prohibited ; declaring that he 
intended no longer to acknowledge the gods of Tahiti, 
which were no gods ; that no more ceremonies should 
be performed on his account, as he purposed to worship 
Jehovah. He was anxious to know more respecting 
God, and wished them also to hear about Him ; and 
therefore sent a message to Mr. Nott, requesting him 
to come down, and preach to the people at his place 
of abode. , 

Mr. Nott gladly complied with his request, and, 
accompanied by Mr. Hayward, repaired a few days 


afterward to his encampment. When they arrived at 
Tiataebua, Puru, the king of Huahine, and the chief of 
Eimeo, received them cordially ; said his son Taaroarii 
wished to be instructed in the Word of Cod, to learn 
about Jehovah and Jesus Christ, of whom he had so 
frequently heard Pomare speak. The chief added that, 
although he had no desire after these things himself, he 
did not wish to oppose his son, or prevent his hearing 
whatever Mr. Nott might have to communicate. The 
hand of the Almighty was strikingly exhibited, in the 
door thus effectually opened for the preaching of the 
gospel. Puru and his adherents had not been much 
with the missionaries. The people of Huahine and 
their chief were certainly among the most superstitious 
and idolatrous tribes of the Pacific. Pomare, and not 
the missionary, had on this occasion been employed as 
the agent, under God, in influencing the mind of the 
young chief, who was likely to become the king of 
Huahine and Eimeo, and in a way which at once 
demonstrated that it was the purpose of God that he 
should be made acquainted with divine truth. Hence 
he was induced to prohibit an acknowledgment to the 
gods of his ancestors, and to invite the teachers of 
Christianity to his camp, to speak unto him and his ad- 
herents words whereby they might be saved. While 
the missionaries admired the means by which God had 
thus shown them that the work was His, and not theirs, 
and thus deprived them of attributing any thing to their 
own influence, they rejoiced in the opportunity now 
afforded of proclaiming the glad tidings of mercy from 
the Most High. Mr. Nott conversed a long time with 
them, and preached an instructive and affecting dis- 
course from Isa. xlix. 6, 7. I have often heard the 
young man's mother-in-law, and other members of the 
household, speak of this discourse as having deeply 
impressed their minds. When Mr. Nott left them, he 
invited the chief and his adherents to visit the station 
on the Sabbath, and cultivate an intercourse with other 
Christian chiefs. 

On the following Sabbath Taaroarii attended ; his 
father also became, a few months afterward, a sincere 
convert. They accompanied us to Huahine in 1818. 
Taaroarii died rather suddenly in 1821. His father is 
the venerable king of Huahine ; and has, ever since his 
return, proved not only a father to the people, but a 


uniform and bright ornament to the religion of the 

Besides these regular periods of instruction and times 
of public worship, the missionaries frequently held 
special meetings with those whose names they had 
written down, for the purpose of unfolding more fully 
the sublime doctrines of revelation, and uniting with 
them in social worship. They had the delightful satis- 
faction of hearing some of the new converts engage in 
prayer, and were surprised and gratified, in a high 
degree, with their fluency and fervour, as well as the 
appropriateness of their language, when officiating in 
this sacred duty. They also learned with pleasure that 
they were accustomed to retire morning and evening 
for secret prayer. 

In one of the visits which Mr. Nott made to the resi- 
dence of Taaroarii, for the purpose of preaching to his 
people, he was followed by Path, the priest of the tem- 
ple in Papetoai, the district in which the missionaries 
resided. This individual appeared to listen most 
attentively to what was said ; and after the conclusion 
of the service, he and Mr. Nott proceeded together along 
the beach towards the settlement. As they walked, 
Path fully disclosed the feelings of his mind to Mr. 
Nott, and assured him that on the morrow, at a certain 
hour, he would bring out the idols under his care, and 
publicly burn them. The declaration was astounding ; 
it was too decisive and important in its nature, and prom- 
ised results almost too momentous, to be true. Mr. 
Nott replied, " I fear you are jesting with me, and 
stating what you think we wish, rather than what you 
intend. 1 can scarcely allow myself to believe what 
you say." " Don't be unbelieving," replied Path, 
" wait till to-morrow, and you shall see." The religion 
of Jesus Christ was the topic of conversation until they 
reached the settlement ; when Path took his leave, and 
Mr. Nott informed his colleagues of the success of his 
visit to the young chief of Huahine, and the determina- 
tion which the priest of the district had made known to 
him. The impression which the intelligence of these 
events produced upon their minds was that of mingled 
admiration, gratitude, and hope, to a degree that may 
be better imagined than expressed. 

The arrival of the evening of the following day was 
awaited with an unusual agitation and excitement of 



feeling. Hope and fear alternately pervaded the minds 
of the missionaries and their pupils, with regard to the 
burning of the idols, and the consequent tumult, devasta- 
tion, and bloodshed that might follow. The public ad- 
herents of Christianity were but few (less than fifty), 
and surrounded by jealous and cruel idolaters — who 
already began to wonder " whereunto this thing might 
grow." Patii, however, was faithful to his word. He, 
with his friends, had collected a quantity of fuel near 
the sea-beach ; and, in the afternoon the wood was 
split, and piled on a point of land in the western part 
of Papetoai, near the large national marae or temple in 
which he had officiated. The report of his intention 
had spread among the people of the district, and multi- 
tudes assembled to witness this daring act of impiety, 
or the sudden vengeance which they expected woidd 
fall upon the sacrilegious criminal. The missionaries 
and their friends also attended. The varied emotions 
of hope and fear, of dread and expectation, with a 
strange air of mysterious foreboding, agitating the 
bosoms of the multitude, were strongly marked in the 

countenances of the spectators ; resembling, perhaps in 
no small degree, the feeling depicted in the visages of 
the assembled Israelites, when the prophet Elijah sum- 


moned them to prove the power of Baal, or to acknow- 
ledge the omnipotence of the Lord God of Israel. A 
short time before sunset Patii appeared, and ordered 
his attendants to apply fire to the pile. This being 
done, he hastened to the sacred depository of his gods, 
brought them out, not indeed as he had been on some 
occasions accustomed to do, that they might receive 
the blind homage of the waiting populace, — but to con- 
vince the deluded multitude of the impotency and the 
vanity of the objects of their adoration and their dread. 
When he approached the burning pile, he laid them 
down on the ground. They were small carved wooden 
images, rude imitations of the human figure ; or shape- 
less logs of wood, covered with finely braided and curi- 
ously wrought cinet of cocoanut fibres, and ornamented 
with red feathers. The representations in the preced- 
ing page will convey some idea of the shape and 
appearance of the former kind. 

Patii tore off the sacred cloth in which they were 
enveloped, to be safe from the gaze of vulgar eyes, 
stripped them of their ornaments, which he cast into 
the fire ; and then one by one threw the idols themselves 
into the crackling flames — sometimes pronouncing the 
name and pedigree of the idol, and expressing his own 
regret at having worshipped it — at others, calling upon 
the spectators to behold their inability even to help 
themselves. Thus were the idols which Patii, who was 
a powerful priest in Eimeo, had worshipped, publicly 
destroyed. The flames became extinct, and the sun 
cast his last beams, as he sank behind the western 
wave, upon the expiring embers of that fire, which had 
already mingled with the earth upon which it had been 
kindled the ashes of some of the once obeyed and 
dreaded idols of Eimeo. 

Patii on this occasion was not prompted by a spirit 
of daring bravado, but by the conviction of truth deeply- 
impressed upon his heart, and a desire to undeceive his 
deluded countrymen ; probably considering that, as his 
conduct and instruction had heretofore done much to 
extend and propagate the influence of idolatry, so his 
thus publicly abandoning it, and exposing himself to all 
the consequences of their dreaded ire, would most ef- 
fectually weaken their confidence in the gods, and lead 
them to desire instruction concerning that Being who, 
he was convinced, was the only living and true God,— 


who was a spirit, and was to be worshipped, not with 
human or other sacrifices, save those of a broken heart 
and a contrite spirit, or the sacrifices of thanksgiving 
and of praise. 

Although many of the spectators undoubtedly viewed 
Path with feelings analogous to those with which the 
Melitians viewed the apostle Paul when the viper fast- 
ened on his hand, and were, many of them, evidently 
disappointed when they saw no evil befall him, they did 
not attempt to rescue the gods when insulted, and per- 
haps riven by the axe, or stripped to be cast into the 
flames. No tumult followed, and no one came forward 
to revenge the insult offered to the tutelar deities of 
their country. Probably, Gamaliel-like, they thought 
it best not to interfere at that time, as their belief in 
the power of the gods had hitherto remained unshaken, 
and they doubtless expected that, in their own way, 
the gods would take signal vengeance on those by whom, 
in the sight of the nation, they had been thus dis- 

The watchful providence of God over his infant cause 
in these islands was remarkably conspicuous in pre- 
serving Path and his friends, and allowing them, after 
the events of the evening, safely and peacefully to 
retire. There were many present who were indignant 
at the insult, and filled with rage at the impiety of the 
act, as well as convinced that, if this conduct should be 
imitated by others, not only would their craft and their 
emoluments be endangered, but they would no longer 
be able to exercise that unquestioned influence over the 
people to which they had hitherto been accustomed ; 
nor to indulge their base propensities, and live in the 
luxurious ease they then enjoyed. Had any popular 
tumult followed this heroic act, the idolaters were so 
numerous and powerful, and the Christians so weak, 
that their destruction would have been inevitable ; and 
even the lives of the missionaries, who would have 
been considered as the cause of all the disturbances, 
might not have been secure. God, however, preserved 
them, and they returned, to render to him the thanks 
and the glory due unto his name. 

The conduct of Path, when it became more exten- 
sively known, produced the most decisive effects on 
priests and people. Numbers in Tahiti and Eimeo were 
imboldened by his example— not only in burning their 


idols, but demolishing their maraes, or temples ; their 
altars were also stripped and overthrown, and the wood 
employed in their construction converted into fuel, and 
used in the native kitchens. 

Patii became a pupil of the missionaries, and a con- 
stant worshipper of the true God, persevering amid 
much ridicule and persecution. Whether his mind had 
at this time undergone a divine and decisive change it 
is not necessary now to inquire ; every evidence that 
could be required has since been given of the sincerity 
of his profession of Christianity, and the influence of its 
principles on his heart. His conduct from this period 
has been uniformly moral and upright, his mind humble, 
his disposition affectionate and mild, and his habits of 
life reformed and industrious. The influence of his 
character in Papetoai, where he is best known, has oc- 
casioned his election to an important office in the Chris- 
tian church. He is a valuable and steady friend, and 
an assistant in whom the missionaries can repose con- 
fidence. Although not a chief of the highest rank, he 
had been raised by the king and people to the office of 
a magistrate in his own district. His conduct on the 
above occasion gave idolatry a stab more deadly than 
any which it had before received, and inflicted a wound, 
from which, with all the energy subsequently mani- 
fested, it never could recover. 

On the 5th of October, 1813, the native Christians 
engaged for the first time with their teachers in the 
monthly meetings for prayer for the spreading of the 
gospel. On the 2d of December, in the same year, Mui, 
one of the early scholars, and one whose name had 
been written among the first that professed Christianity, 
departed to the world of spirits under the consolation 
that pure religion imparts in the hour of death. He 
was often heard to say, while confined to his couch, 
when he saw his former companions going to the school, 
or the place of worship, " My feet cannot follow, but 
my heart goes with you." He did not pretend to know 
much ; but he knew that he was a sinner, and that Jesus 
Christ came into the world to save sinners, and this 
knowledge removed from his mind the fear of death. 

Early in the same year, the number of pupils, and of 
those who professed Christianity in Eimeo, was con- 
siderably increased, and favourable intelligence con,. 
tinued to arrive from the adjacent island. 


The report of the increase of the Christians, and 
their advancement in knowledge, &c, had already circu- 
lated throughout Tahiti ; the minds of many were un- 
settled, and numbers were halting between two opinions. 
Upaparu, a chief of rank and influence in the eastern 
part of Tahiti, with his wife, and twelve or thirteen of 
his people, came over to Eimeo, in order to receive in- 
struction. The inhabitants of the Leeward Islands, 
whose encampment he passed when on his way to Pa- 
petoai, strongly persuaded him to join their party, and 
carry the flag of the gods to Raiatea, entreating him to 
adhere to the religion of his fathers, and to beware of 
Matapuupuu, a man of influence, an Areoi, and a high- 
priest, from Huahine, who had recently joined the 
Christian converts, and Utami, a well informed and en- 
terprising man, chief in the island of Tahaa, who, with 
his wife, had also attached himself to their number. 

Fifty had now given in their names as having re- 
nounced idolatry, desiring to acknowledge Jehovah 
alone as God, and to be instructed in the obedience his 
Word required. Others attended in such numbers that 
it was found necessary to enlarge the first place of wor- 
ship they had ever used in the islands. The converts 
were punctual and regular in their observance of the 
outward ordinances of religion, in frequent social meet- 
ings for prayer, and seasons of retirement for private 
devotion. Their whole moral conduct seemed changed ; 
the things they once delighted in they now abhorred, 
and found enjoyment in what had formerly been a source 
of ridicule or aversion. Their habit of invariably asking 
a blessing, and returning thanks at their meals, and 
their frequent attention to prayer, attracted the notice 
of their countrymen, and procured for them, as a term 
of reproach from their enemies, the designation of Bure 
Atua, literally, prayers to God, from bure, to pray, and 
Atua, God ; the meaning of which was, the people who 
prayed to God, or the praying people. Bure Atua is a 
designation in no respect dishonourable to those to 
whom it was applied, and of which they have never 
been ashamed, though considered as an epithet of con- 
tempt or opprobrium, and applied in a manner similar 
to that in which the term Saint or Methodist is used in 
the present day, or the designation of Nazarene or Chris- 
tian was given to the first disciples. Since the pro- 
fession of Christianity has become general, it has been 


much less used than formerly. Haapii parau, learners, 
or brethren, friends, and disciples, are the terms most 
frequently employed by the converts themselves. 

On the 16th of January, 1814, Idia, the king's mother, 
died. Like her husband, she had been uniformly friendly 
to the missionaries, but continued to the last an enemy 
to the Christian faith. Two months afterward, Mr. 
Nott, accompanied by Mr. Hayward, visited Huahine, 
Raiatea, and Tahaa, the principal of the Society Islands, 
conversing with the inhabitants, travelling round the 
islands, and preaching to the people wherever it was 
convenient. In every place they were welcomed and 
entertained with hospitality. The inhabitants frequently 
assembled to hear their instructions as soon as they 
knew of their arrival in a district or village ; whereas 
on every former occasion it had required much time and 
labour, by personal application, to assemble the smallest 
congregations. Many appeared to listen with earnest- 
ness and satisfaction to the message they delivered, 
called God the good Spirit, and scrupled not to desig- 
nate their own gods as rarua maamaa, and varua ino, 
foolish spirits, and evil spirits. 

In the autumn of the same year, Mr. Wilson went on 
board a vessel at Eimeo, which was driven to the Lee- 
ward Islands, where contrary winds detained him and 
his companions for three months. During this period 
he was much among the people, preached to attentive 
congregations on the Sabbath and other days, and was 
happy to find that those whose names had been written 
down at Tahiti continued steadfast. He also added to 
their number thirty-nine others, whose names, at their 
own desire, were recorded as the professed worshippers 
of the true God. When he left them, they expressed 
the deepest regret, and requested that one of the mis- 
sionaries would come and reside among them. Pomare 
was also on board the same vessel when it was driven 
from the shores of Eimeo, and exerted his influence to 
persuade the people of the Leeward Islands to embrace 
the Christian religion. 

Before Mr. Nott visited the Society Islands he finished 
the translation of the Gospel of Luke ; and in the course 
of the same year the missionaries sent a copy of their 
catechism 'to New South Wales, to be printed there. 
They were exceedingly anxious to obtain a supply of 
elementary books, as the spelling-books from England 


were expended, and the desire for instruction had in- 
creased to such a degree that upwards of two hundred 
scholars attended their school at Papetoai. 

About this time, several of the chiefs of Raiatea, &c, 
and many of their adherents, who had come up in 1811 
to assist Pomare in the recovery of his government and 
authority in Tahiti, returned to their own islands ; not, 
however, without most earnestly requesting the mis- 
sionaries to send them teachers and books. 

Tamatoa and his brother, with other chiefs, had been 
residing for some time at the missionary station in 
Kimeo ; they had attended the school and public in- 
struction in the place of worship ; and several, among 
the most promising of whom was Paumoana, at present 
a valuable native missionary in the Hervey Islands, ap- 
peared to be under the decisive influence of Christian 

After an absence of two years, during which he had 
resided in Tahiti, vainly expecting the restoration of his 
government, and endeavouring to recover his authority 
in his hereditary dominions, Pomare returned to Eimeo 
in the autumn of 1814, accompanied by a large train of 
adherents and dependants, all professors, at least, of 
Christianity. These regularly attended the school, and 
increased the congregation to such a degree that it was 
necessary again to enlarge the place of worship. The 
king had been unable to withstand the temptation with 
which he had been assailed at Tahiti, to use ardent 
spirits ; and although not addicted to entire intoxica- 
tion, yet it induced the missionaries to fear that he, like 
Agrippa, was but almost a Christian. They could not 
but indulge unfavourable apprehensions on his account ; 
yet, considering his previous habits, that intemperance 
had ever been the vice to which he was most addicted, 
and the peculiar temptations to which his residence in 
Tahiti had exposed him, they could not readily re- 
linquish the hopes they had entertained respecting 

The numerous attendance and increasing earnestness 
of the people induced the missionaries to meet them 
for divine worship twice on the Lord's day, and once 
during the week. In addition to these public instruc- 
tions, they held a meeting every Sabbath evening with 
those whose names had been written down as the dis- 
ciples of Christ, and spent much time in more private 


endeavours lo direct the views and confirm the belief 
of those who were desirous to be added to their number. 
These sacred exercises were enlivened by the natives, 
who united with their teachers in celebrating - the praises 
of Jehovah, a number of the natives having been taught 
to sing hymns that had been composed in the native 
language. The missionaries had often, with mingled 
feelings of horror and pity, heard their songs of licen- 
tiousness or of war, as well as the cantillations of their 
heathen worship, and their songs in honour of their 
idols ; and it is scarcely possible to form an adequate 
idea of the delightful transport with which, at first, they 
must have heard the high praises of the Almighty pre- 
ferred by native voices. 

Upaparu, a principal chief in the eastern part of Ta- 
hiti, came over to Eimeo for the express purpose of 
seeking Christian instruction, and attending the assem- 
blies for public worship. He was accompanied by his 
wife Maihota and twelve of his people, equally anxious 
with himself to know more respecting these important 
matters. On the 15th of April they reached the mis- 
sionary station. The following day was the Sabbath. 
They attended public worship in the forenoon ; and 
when they saw the congregation stand up, and heard 
them sing the praises of Jehovah in their native tongue, 
they were for some time mute with astonishment, and 
some of them so deeply affected as to be unable to re- 
frain from tears. An excellent discourse was afterward 
delivered by Mr. Scott, to which they listened with 
mingled feelings of wonder and delight. 

A variety of events occurred at this time to confirm 
the attachment of those who had professed themselves 
favourable to Christianity, and to induce those who were 
undecided to join them. On one occasion, a family in 
Eimeo was plunged into great distress, on account of 
the sufferings of one of its members, and the prospect 
of a fatal issue. A priest was sent for, who implored 
the assistance of his god ; but, continuing his interces- 
sion for a long time without any apparent relief to the 
sufferer, he desisted, and left the family in hopeless dis- 
appointment. A native, who was a worshipper of Je- 
hovah, was among the attending friends. He kneeled 
down, and offered up a fervent prayer to the true God. 
While he was thus engaged, relief was afforded, and 
the weeping and forebodings of the family turned into 


grateful wonder and joyous gratulations.* I simply 
state the fact as it is recorded by the missionary in the 
island at the time, without making any comment ; 
which, indeed, it neither requires nor admits. On the 
minds of the family and the inhabitants of the place it 
produced a powerful impression. They hastened to 
the idol temple of the district, which they demolished, 
breaking down the altars, and bringing forth their gods, 
which they execrated as false, and publicly committed 
to the flames. 

A similar instance occurred early in this year. One 
of the scholars, the wife of anAreoi, who had for some 
time, with her husband's consent, attended the school, 
was suddenly taken ill. The members of the family 
were alarmed ; and, accustomed to attribute every ca- 
lamity to the anger of the gods, immediately concluded 
that her illness was occasioned by their displeasure, 
which she had probably incurred by attending the schoo' 
and the Christian worship of the missionaries. Patii, 
the priest of the district, was instantly sent for. On 
his arrival, a small pig and a young plantain were pro- 
cured and handed to Patii, who, in offering them to his 
god, thus addressed him: O Satani! eiaha oe e riri,faa- 
ora,faaora, Teie te hapa, ua faarue ia oe, ua haavarehia e te 
papaa, Teie te buaa, eiaha e riri — " O Satan ! be not angry, 
restore, restore ; this is the sin, deceived by the foreign- 
ers (she) has forsaken you, Here is a pig (as an atone- 
ment) ; be not angry." In this address it is singular to 
notice the application of the term Satan to the god Patii 
invoked. It was introduced by the missionaries, and 
at this time adopted by the Christians when speaking 
of any of the idols of Tahiti. Although dangerously ill 
at the time these efforts were made, the woman recov- 
ered ; and, notwithstanding all the fearful representa- 
tion of consequences, made by her friends, attended 
the school again, so soon as her strength admitted. 
Her infatuation, as they conceived it to be in this re- 
spect, not only encouraged her school-fellows, but, with 
other circumstances which occurred about the same 
time, made a considerable impression on the minds of 

* In recording this incident, it is proper to state, that the missionaries dis- 
claim all idea of miraculous interposition. At the same time, the providential 
coincidenceof the event3,and the encouragement which the Word of (Jod gives 
to " fervent and effectual prayer,"' demand attentive consideration and grateful 
acknowledgment. — Vs. cvii. 43. 


the idolaters, and occasioned some of the priests pub- 
licly to declare their conviction " that the religion of the 
foreigners would prevail, in spite of all opposition.'''' 

The progress of Divine truth was so rapid among the 
natives, that, in the close of 1814, not fewer than three 
hundred hearers regularly attended the preaching of the 
gospel. Upwards of two hundred had given in their 
names as professors of Christianity. Three hundred 
scholars attended the means of instruction inEimeo; 
besides which there were a number in Sir Charles San- 
ders's Island, Huahine, and Raiatea ; so that at this time 
there is reason to believe that between five and six 
hundred had renounced idol-worship. 

These encouraging appearances in regard to the 
affairs of the Christians only appeared to arouse the 
anger of their idolatrous enemies, who were no longer 
satisfied with simply ridiculing and treating with con- 
tempt the objects of their hatred, but proceeded to more 
alarming plans of resistance against the progress of the 
new principles which were daily gaining ground among 
the people. It was by no means an uncontested tri- 
umph, nor an undisputed possession, that Christianity 
acquired in those islands ; every inch was reluctantly 
surrendered; and at several periods persecution raged 
amid the Elysian bowers of Tahiti and Eimeo, as much 
as ever it had done in the valleys of Piedmont or the 
metropolis of the Roman empire. Many, in Tahiti es- 
pecially, were plundered of their property, banished 
from their homes and their possessions ; their houses 
were burnt, and they themselves hunted for sacrifices 
to be offered to Oro, merely because they were Bure 
Atua, prayers to God. In some places the persecutions 
were so inveterate as to produce remonstrances, even 
from several of the inferior chiefs, Avho were them- 
selves idolaters. 

The commencement of the year 1815 is distinguished 
in the annals of Tahiti by changes in society, affecting 
deeply, not only the religious, but the domestic con- 
dition of the people, especially of the females. Idola- 
try had exerted all its withering and deadly influence, 
not only over every moment of their earthly existence, 
but every department of life, destroying by its debasing 
and unsocial dictates every tender feeling, and all the 
enjoyments of domestic intercourse. 

To this cheerless humiliation the female sex had 

Vol. II.— E 


been for ages subject, from the direct injunctions o( 
their false system of religion; and as its cumbrous 
fabric began to give way, this barbarous and arbitrary 
imposition was proportionably disregarded. Not only 
were the sacred materials with which the altars and the 
appendages of the temple had been constructed con- 
verted into fuel, but the food considered sacred was 
esteemed so no longer, the invidious and debasing dis- 
tinctions attached to the females were removed, and 
both sexes, among those who professed Christianity, 
sat down together to their cheerful meal. 

Under the influence of these encouraging prospects, 
although enfeebled by frequent indisposition, the mis- 
sionaries prosecuted their work ; their scholars in- 
creased in the same degree that the profession of Chris- 
tianity prevailed — and a supply of four hundred copies 
of their abridgment of the New Testament, and a thou- 
sand copies of small elementary books, which had been 
printed in New South Wales, arrived very opportunely 
about this time ; spelling-books they were still much in 
want of, as those formerly printed in England had long 
been expended. 

Such was the pleasing state of things in the com- 
mencement of 1815. The importance and advantages 
of education appeared to be more extensively appre- 
ciated, and between forty and fifty, principally adults, 
regularly attended the mission school. The agents of 
vice, idolatry, and cruelty were not inactive. The 
struggle between light and darkness, truth and error, 
order and anarchy, beneyolence and barbarism, had 
never appeared more intense and conspicuous than at 
this time. The little band of scholars in the mission 
school, and worshippers in the chapel, unwilling to enjoy 
their privileges alone, employed every proper and per- 
suasive means to induce their friends and relatives to 
attend to these things — at least to make a trial of the 
school, and to hear what was said about the true God. 
The latter, however, frequently became indignant at the 
very proposal, charging the God of the foreigners with 
all the maladies under which they suffered, and the dis- 
turbances that agitated the country; accusing them also 
of bringing down the vengeance of their own gods upon 
the family, by deserting their altars, and worshipping 
with the strangers. Frequently, however, they an- 
swered their entreaties only with ridicule and scorn. 


tauntingly inquiring, Where is the good of which you 
speak so much — the salvation of which you tell US'? 
the foreigners themselves die, their pupils die, or suffer 
the same pain that we do ; and what good have you 
derived from going to their schools ! Let us see — if you 
go this week, and bring home a good bundle of cloth, or 
scissors, or knives, or any thing else worth having, then 
we will go too ; if not, we will have nothing to do with 
such profitless work. The state of things resembled 
greatly that described by the Saviour, when speaking 
of the results that should follow the promulgation of his 
gospel. In many a family the husband was an idolater, 
and the wife a Christian,— or the reverse ; the parents 
addicted to the gods of their ancestors, and the child a 
disciple of Jesus Christ ; and many a wife was beaten 
by her husband, and many a child driven from the, pa- 
rental roof, solely on account of their attachment to 
the new religion. In Tahiti the idolaters proceeded 
to the greatest acts of lawless violence and horrid 

More than once individuals were selected to be offered 
in sacrifice to the gods, only because they were Chris- 
tians. Mr. Davies, in his journey round Tahiti in 1816, 
met with the murderer of the young man who was 
offered in sacrifice by the people of Taiarabu, to ensure 
success in their last attack upon the people of Atehuru 
and Papara, and whose tragical death, he justly con- 
sidered, ought to be recorded, because it is hoped it was 
" the last human sacrifice offered in Tahiti," and because 
the victim was selected " on account of his attachment 
to Christianity." 

Aberahama, an interesting and intelligent young man, 
who was a pupil in our school at Eimeo, was marked 
out as a victim ; and when the servants of the priests 
came to take him, being obliged to fly for his life, he 
was pursued by the murderers, shot at, wounded, and but 
narrowly escaped. When he received the ball he fell, 
and, unable to save himself by flight, crawled among 
the bushes, and hid himself so completely as to elude 
the vigilant search of his enemies, although it was con- 
tinued for some time, and they often passed near his 
retreat. Under cover of the darkness of night he crept 
down to the dwelling of his friends, who dressed his 
wound, and conveyed him to a place of safety. But, 
although he recovered from the shot, and lives, not only 


to enjoy the blessings of the gospel in this world, and 
to be useful in imparting its benefits to others, he will, 
to adopt the language of Mr. Davies, "carry the hon- 
ourable scar to his grave." 

An immolation equally affecting was related to me by 
Mr. Nott. A fine, intelligent young man, on becoming 
a disciple of Christ and a public worshipper of Jehovah, 
was ridiculed by his family ; this proving ineffectual, 
flattering promises were made of temporal advantages, 
if he would again unite with those who had been his 
former associates in idol-worship; these he also de- 
clined. He then was threatened with all their weight 
of vengeance ; and, still remaining firm to his deter- 
mination, he was banished from his father's house, and 
forced to leave the neighbourhood. Not satisfied with 
this, that rage and malignant hatred of Christianity 
which is gendered by ignorance and idolatry, and cher- 
ished by satanic infatuation, pursued him still. A 
heathen ceremony was at hand, for which a human 
victim was required; and this young man was selected 
by his persecutors, because he professed to be a wor- 
shipper of the true God. A more acceptable sacrifice 
they thought they could not offer, as the revenge they 
should thereby wreak upon him would not only gratify 
their own insatiate malice, but be so acceptable to the 
gods whom he had rejected as certainly to render them 
propitious. It is probable they also expected, by this 
summary vengeance, to deter others from following his 
example. On the evening of the day preceding that on 
which the ceremony was to take place, the young man, 
as his custom was, had retired to the brow of a hill that 
overlooked the valley where he dwelt ; and there, seated 
beneath the embowering shade of an elegant clump of 
trees, was absorbed in meditation, previous to offering 
up his evening supplications to his God. While thus 
engaged, his seclusion was invaded and his solitude dis- 
turbed by the appearance of a band, similar, in some 
respects, to that which broke in upon the Saviour's retire- 
ment in Gethsemane. A number of the servants of the 
priests and chiefs approached the young man, and told 
him that the king had arrived, and, wishing to see him, 
had sent them to invite him down- He knew of the 
approaching ceremony, that a human sacrifice was then 
to be offered ; and he no sooner saw them advancing 
to his retreat, than a sudden thought, like a flash of 


lightning, darted through his mind, intimating that he 
was to be the victim. He received it as a premonition 
of his doom ; and in reply to the request, told them, 
calmly, that he did not think the king had arrived, and 
that, therefore, it was unnecessary for him to go down. 
They then told him that the priest or some of his friends 
wished to see him, and again invited him to descend. 
" Why," said he, " do you thus seek to deceive me ? 
The priest or friends may wish to see me, but it is under 
very different circumstances from what your message 
would imply : I know a ceremony approaches, that a 
human victim is then to be offered — something within 
tells me I am to be that victim, and your appearance and 
your message confirm my conviction. Jesus Christ is 
my keeper — without his permission you cannot hurt 
me ; you may be permitted to kill my body, but / am 
not afraid to die ! My soul you cannot hurt ; that is safe 
in the hands of Jesus Christ, by whom it will be kept 
beyond your power." Perceiving there was but little 
prospect of inducing him by falsehood to accompany 
them towards the beach, and irritated, probably, by his 
heroical reply, they rushed upon him, wounded, and 
murdered him, and then, in a long basket made with the 
leaves of the overshadowing cocoanut-tree, bore his 
body to the temple, where, with exultation, it was 
offered in sacrifice to their god. They had, perhaps, 
beheld with fiend-like joy his writhing agonies in death, 
and listened with equal delight to his expiring groans. 
The unconscious earth had been saturated with his 
blood ; and when they placed his body on the rude 
altar, or suspended it from the sacred tree, in the pres- 
ence of their god, they not only supposed they offered 
a sacrifice at once acceptable and efficacious, but doubt- 
less viewed the immolation as one by which they had 
achieved for idolatry a triumph over humanity and 
Christian principle. Before, however, these feelings 
could be exercised, and the earth had drunk up his 
blood, or his insulted corpse was deposited on their 
altar, his liberated and ransomed spirit had winged its 
way to the realms of blessedness, had joined "the noble 
army of martyrs" — and united in ascriptions of grateful 
homage unto Him who had loved him, and not only 
made him faithful to the end, but triumphant over death. 
Those who heard the young man's dying words, and 
witnessed his calm unshaken firmness in the moment 


of trial, with many among whom the report circulated, 
were probably led to think differently of the religion he 
professed than they had done before. The blood of the 
martyrs has ever been the seed of the church ; and from 
an exhibition of principles so unequivocal in their nature 
and so happy in their effects, it is not too much to pre- 
sume that it proved so on the present occasion. 


Distillation of ardent spirits — Description of a native still— Materials em- 
ployed in distillation— Murderous effects of intoxication — Seizure of the 
Queen Charlotte— Murder of the officers— Escape of Mr. Shelly— Seizure 
of the Daphne — Massacre of the captain and part of the crew — Public tri- 
umph over idolatry in Eimeo — Visit of the queen and her sister to Tahiti 
— Emblems of the gods committed to the flames— Account of Farefau — 
Projected assassination of the Bure Aiua— Manner of their escape — War in 
Tahiti — Pomare's tour of Eimeo. 

The anarchy, crime, and wretchedness which now 
desolated Tahiti were increased by intemperance, 
which at this time prevailed to an awful and unprece- 
dented degree. By the Sandwich islanders who had 
arrived some years before the natives had been taught 
to distil ardent spirits from the saccharine ti root, which 
they now practised to a great extent; and exhibited, 
in a proportionate degree, all the demoralizing and 
debasing influence of drunkenness. 

Whole districts frequently united to erect what 
might be termed a public still. It was a rude un- 
sightly machine, yet it answered but too well the pur- 
pose for which it was made. It generally consisted 
of a large fragment of rock, hollowed in a rough man- 
ner, and fixed firmly upon a solid pile of stones, leaving 
a space underneath for a fire-place. The but-end of a 
tree was then hollowed out, and placed upon the rough 
stone boiler for a cap. The baked ti root, called Dra- 
cana. terminahs, macerated in water, and already in a 
state of fermentation, was then put into the hollow 
stone, and covered with the unwieldly cap. The fire 
was kindled underneath, ahole was, made in the wooden 
cap of the still, into which a long small bamboo-cane, 



placed in a trough of cold water, was inserted at one 
end, and when the process of distillation was com- 
menced, the spirit flowed from the other into a calabash, 
cocoanut shell, or other vessel, placed underneath to 
receive it. 

Tahitian Still. 

When the materials were prepared, the men and 
boys of the district assembled in a kind of temporary 
house erected over the still, in order to drink the ava, 
as they called the spirit. The first that issued from 
the still, being the strongest, they called the ao ; it was 
carefully received, and given to the chief: that subse- 
quently procured was drunk by the people in general. 
In this employment they were sometimes engaged for 
several days together, drinking the spirit as it issued 
from the still, sinking into a state of indescribable 
wretchedness, and often practising the most ferocious 

Travellers among the natives experienced greater 
inconvenience from these district stills than from any 
other cause, for when the people were either preparing 
one, or engaged in drinking, it was impossible to obtain 
either their attention or the common offices of hos- 
pitality. Under the unrestrained influence of their in- 
toxicating draught, in their appearance and actions 
they resembled demons more than human beings. 

Sometimes in a deserted still-house might be seen 
the fragments of the rude boiler, and the other append- 
ages of the still, scattered in confusion on the ground ; 
and among them the dead and mangled bodies of those 


who had heen murdered with axes or billets of wood 
in the quarrels that had terminated their debauch. 

It was not only among themselves that their un- 
bridled passions led to such enormities. One or two 
European vessels were seized, and the crews inhu- 
manly murdered. The first was the Queen Charlotte 
of Port Jackson, the vessel by which we arrived in 
the islands. 

Towards the autumn of 1813, Mr. Shelly, formerly a 
missionary in Tongatabu, and subsequently in Matavai, 
arrived as master of the Queen Charlotte, at Eimeo, 
on his way to the Paumotu, or Pearl Islands. These 
lie to the eastward of Tahiti, and form what is denom- 
inated the Dangerous Archipelago. The vessel was 
but imperfectly manned, and a number of natives of 
Raiatea and Tahiti were taken on board, to dive among 
the lagoon islands for the pearl-oyster. They pro- 
ceeded to their destination, but had scarcely com- 
menced their pearl-fishing, when the natives attacked 
the crew, barbarously murdered the first and second 
officers, who were men of fine stature and benevolent 
dispositions ; and killing one of the seamen, took pos- 
session of the ship. Mr. Shelby's life was threatened, 
and only spared at the instance of two Tahitians, who, 
anxious to save him, requested that he might be kept 
to navigate the vessel to Tahiti, whither they intended 
to return. One of these natives was Upaparu, a chief 
of rank, present secretary to the government of Tahiti, 
and a steady friend to foreigners. When the vessel 
arrived at Tahiti, Pomare succeeded in securing to Mr. 
Shelly its restoration, though most of the property 
had been plundered. Matting was procured for sails, 
and the vessel, pursuing her homeward voyage, reached 
Port Jackson in safety. 

Flushed with the success that had attended the savage 
and daring effort of the Raiateans, the Tahitians whom 
Captain Fodger had employed on board his vessel the 
Daphne, for the purpose of diving among the pearl 
islands, rose upon the ship's company, murdered the 
captain and some of the men, took possession of the 
vessel, and brought her to Tahiti. Mr. G. Bicknell, a 
nephew of Mr. Bicknell, was on board at the time, but 
his life was spared amid the general carnage that 
attended the assault. The mutinous natives returned 
to their own island, but were met as they were about 


to enter the harbour by Capt. Walker of the Endea- 
vour, who succeeded in retaking the vessel, ai*d thus 
deprived them of their plunder. 

These acts of daring outrage and appalling crime on 
the one side, and of increasing and decided attachment 
to the principles of order, humanity, and religion on 
the other, seemed to indicate that matters in Tahiti 
were fast verging to an important issue, and that before 
long some violent convulsion in society must follow. 
The missionaries could not view these things with 
insensibility, as they saw what they had to expect 
should they fall into the hands of those who had been 
guilty of such wanton cruelty ; their support was, 
however, derived from the conviction that their God 
was governor among the nations, and that the Lord 
omnipotent reigned. 

In the close of 1814, Pomare-vahine, the daughter 
of the king of Raiatea, and the sister of Pomare's 
queen, paid a visit to Eimo, from the Leeward Islands, 
and in the month of May, 1815, made a voyage to Ta- 
hiti, in company with her sister the queen, and a nume- 
rous train of companions and attendants, most of whom 
professed to be Christians. Their object was to make 
the tour of Tahiti, with the visiter from the Leeward 
Islands. Previously, however, to their embarkation, a 
signal triumph was achieved in favour of Christianity, 
at a public festival, in which they were the most con- 
spicuous party. 

It has ever been considered a mark of respect due to 
every distinguished visiter, to prepare, soon after the 
arrival of such an individual, a sumptuous feast, termed 
by the natives a faamuraa, or feeding ; not, however, 
by furnishing a rich and splendid entertainment at the 
habitation of the proprietors, and inviting as guests the 
parties in honour of whom it was prepared, but by 
cooking a number of whole pigs, fowls, and fish, with a 
proportionate accompaniment of vegetables, puddings, 
and what may be called their made-dishes, and carrying 
the whole to the encampment of the visiter, with a con- 
siderable addition of the choicest fruits the season may 

An expensive and sumptuous entertainment of this 

kind was furnished by the chiefs of Eimeo for the 

queen's sister. A large quantity of every valuable kind 

of food was dressed and presented, together with 



several bundles of native cloth. On such occasions it 
was customary for a priest or priests to attend ; and 
before any of it was eaten, to offer the whole to the 
gods, by taking parts of the animals, and particular kinds 
of the fruit, to the temple, and depositing them upon 
the altar. The king and his friends were desirous on 
this occasion to prevent such an acknowledgment. 
When, therefore, the food was presented to Pomare- 
vahine, before any article was touched by the attendants, 
and while the spectators were expecting the priests to 
select the customary offerings to the idols, one of her 
principal men, who was a Christian, came forward, 
uncovered his head, and, looking up to heaven, offered 
in an audible voice their acknowledgments and thanks- 
givings to Jehovah, who liberally gave them food and 
raiment and every earthly blessing. The assembled 
multitude were confounded and astonished ; and the 
food being, by this act, offered as they considered to 
Jehovah, no one dared to take any part of it to the idol 

When the party reached Tahiti they landed in Pare, 
the hereditary district of Pomare's family, where they 
were welcomed by the friends of the king, and the 
guardian of Aimata, his only child, who, with her nurse, 
resided here. 

From the few Christians in the neighbourhood, they 
were happy to learn that the inhabitants of large sec- 
tions of Pare, and the adjacent district of Matavai, the 
former residence of their teachers, had renounced 
idolatry, and were desirous to receive Christian instruc- 

By the queen, or her sister, the king sent over a new 
book to Aimata, his infant daughter, which, being con- 
sidered as an indication of his purpose that she should 
be trained up in the new religion, was a source of great 
encouragement to the converts, and of corresponding 
dissatisfaction to the idolaters, who already began to 
meditate on the means of effecting the destruction of 
the Christians. 

It was not in Pare and Matavai alone that the pro- 
fessed worshippers of God were to be found. Some 
openly avowed their attachment to the new order of 
things, maintaining, in the midst of the heathen around 
them, daily worship in their families, and morning and 
evening devotion in private ; others, for fear of giving 


offence to their chiefs or neighbours, maintained secretly 
their profession, and at the hour of midnight met to- 
gether, as the persecuted Christians in England have 
often formerly done, in the depths of the woods, or the 
retired glens of the valleys, for conference or social 

The state of affairs in Tahiti was such as to prevent 
the queen and her sister from proceeding on their in- 
tended tour of the island; but while they remained at 
Pare a circumstance occurred similar to that which had 
transpired in Eimeo, though probably more decisive 
and important in its immediate result. 

When a present of food and cloth was brought to the 
visiters by some of the chiefs of Tahiti, the priests also 
attended, and, observing the party disinclined to 
acknowledge or render the customary homage to the 
gods, began to expatiate on the power of the gods, and, 
pointing to some bunches of uru, or red feathers, which 
were always considered emblematical of their deities, 
employed insulting language, and threatened with ven- 
geance the queen's companions. One of Pomare- 
vahine's men, the individual who had offered their 
acknowledgments to God on the presentation of food in 
Eimeo, hearing this, and pointing to the feathers, said, 
" Are those the mighty things you so extol, and with 
whose anger you threaten us ? If so, I will soon con- 
vince you of their inability even to preserve them- 
selves." Running at the same time to the spot where 
they were fixed, he seized the bunches of feathers, and 
cast them into a large fire close by, where they were 
instantly consumed. The people stood aghast, and 
uttered exclamations of horror at the sacrilegious 
deed ; and it is probable that this act increased the 
hatred already rankling in the bosoms of the idolatrous 

The individual who acted so heroic and conspicuous 
a part on these occasions was Farefau, a native of 
Borabora, but attached to the household of Pomare- 
vahine, with whom he had arrived from the Leeward 
Islands in 1814. "When he reached Eimeo he was an 
idolater, but soon became a pupil in the school ; and in 
the close of the same year desired that his name might 
be recorded among the converts. He occupied a prom- 
inent station in all the struggles between paganism and 
Christianity; maintaining an unblemished character, 


and an unwavering profession, through the varied scenes 
of that unsettled period. He engaged with diligence 
in teaching the inhabitants of the remote and rocky 
parts of Taiarabu the catechism and the art of reading; 
and after a lingering illness, during which he enjoyed 
the presence and support which true religion alone can 
impart, delivered, as he expressed himself on the last 
day of his life, from the fear of death, and having his 
hopes fixed or relying on the Son of God as the only 
Saviour, he died in peace, at our missionary station in 
Afareaitu, on the 29th of July, 1817, nearly two years 
after the total overthrow of idolatry in 1815. 

He was a man of decision and daring enterprise ; and 
though, on the occasion in Tahiti above referred to, he 
may have acted with a degree of zeal somewhat impru- 
dent, it was a zeal resulting, not from ignorant rashness, 
but enlightened principle, and holy indignation against 
the boasting threatenings and lying vanities of the 
priests of idolatry, to whose arts of deception he had 
formerly been no stranger. 

The influence of the Bure Atua in the nation, from 
the rank many of them held, and the confidence with 
which they maintained the superiority of their religion, 
together with the accessions that were daily made to 
their numbers from various parts of the island, not only 
increased the latent enmity against Christianity which 
the idolaters had always cherished, but awakened the 
first emotion of apprehension lest this new Word should 
ultimately prevail, and the gods, their temples, and their 
worship be altogether disregarded. To avoid this, they 
determined on the destruction, the total annihilation 
of every one in Tahiti who was known to pray to 

A project was formed by the pagan chiefs of Pare, 
Matavai, and Apaiano to assassinate, in one night, every 
individual of the Bure Atua. The persecuted party 
was already formidable in point of numbers and rank, 
and the idolaters, in order to ensure success in their 
murderous design, invited the chiefs of Atehuru and 
Papara to join them. The time was fixed for the per- 
petration of this bloody deed. At the hour of midnight 
they were to be attacked, their property plundered, 
their houses burnt, and every prisoner secured to be 
slaughtered on the spot. The parties, who for a long 
time had been inveterate enemies to each other, readily 


agreeingto the proposed confederation, were made friends 
on the occasion, and cordially united in the plan of 
destroying the Christians. The intended victims of this 
treachery were unconscious of their danger, until the 
evening of the 7th of July ; when, a few hours only 
before the horrid massacre was to have commenced, 
they received secret intelligence of the ruin that was 
ready to burst upon them. 

Circumstances, unforeseen and uncontrollable by 
their enemies, had prevented the different parties from 
arriving punctually at their respective points of rendez- 
vous ; otherwise, even now escape would have been 
impracticable, and destruction inevitable, as the Pori- 
onu, inhabitants of Pare, Matavai, and Apaiano, would 
have been on the one side, and in their rear, and the 
party from Atehuru and Papara on the other. The 
delay in the arrival of some of these afforded the only 
hope of deliverance. 

At this remarkably critical period, the whole of the 
party having to attend a meeting either for public wor- 
ship, or for some other general purpose, assembled in 
the evening near the sea. No time was to be lost. 
Their canoes were lying on the beach. They were 
instantly launched ; and, hurrying away what few things 
they could take, they embarked soon after sunset, and 
reached Eimeo in safety on the following morning, 
grateful for the happy and surprising deliverance they 
had experienced. The different parties, as they arrived 
towards midnight, learned, with no ordinary remorse 
and disappointment, that their prey had been alarmed* 
and had escaped. 

A large body of armed and lawless warriors, belong- 
ing to different and rival chieftains, thus brought 
together under irritated feelings, and perhaps mutually 
accusing each other as the cause of their disappoint- 
ment, were not long without a pretext for commencing 
the work of death among themselves. Ancient ani- 
mosities, restrained only for the purpose of crushing 
what they considered a common enemy, were soon 
revived, and led to an open declaration of war between 
the tribes assembled. The inhabitants of Atehuru and 
Papara, who had been invited by the Porionu to join 
them in destroying the Bure Atua, attacked the Porionu ; 
and, in the battle that followed, obtained a complete 
victory over them, killing one of their principal chiefs, 


and obliging the vanquished to seek their safety in 

After this affair the people of Taiarabu joined the vic- 
tors. The whole island was again involved in war, and 
the conquering party scoured the coast from Atehuru 
to the eastern side of the isthmus, burning every house, 
destroying every plantation, plundering every article of 
property, and reducing the verdant and beautiful districts 
of Pare, Faaa, the romantic valleys of Hautaua, Mata- 
vai, and Apaiano, and the whole of the north-eastern 
part of the island, to a state of barrenness and desola- 

Success did not bring peace or rest to the victorious 
party. Proud of their triumph, insolent in crime, and 
impatient of control, the Atehuruans and natives of Pa- 
para quarrelled with the Taiarabuans, who had joined 
them in destroying the Porionu. A battle followed. 
The natives of Taiarabu were defeated, and fled to their 
fortresses in the mountains of their craggy peninsula, 
leaving the Oropaa masters of the island. 

Numbers of the vanquished fled to Eimeo, where they 
were received by the king, or protected by the chiefs, 
who had taken no part whatever in the wars that were 
now desolating Tahiti, and who determined to observe 
the strictest neutrality ; or, if they acted at all, to do so 
only on the defensive, should invasion be attempted. 

Besides the refugees who, in consequence of defeat 
in Tahiti, had taken shelter in Eimeo, numbers who had 
secretly embraced Christianity, and feared ultimate 
destruction from the idolaters, although religion ap- 
peared to have no influence in the present commotion, 
came over to Eimeo and joined the Christians. The 
aggregate of those whose names were written down as 
such, amounted at this period to nearly four hundred, 
and the pupils in the school were between six and seven 
hundred. Want of books alone prevented its being con- 
siderably enlarged. 

Notwithstanding the Bure Atua had escaped the 
machinations of their enemies, and the murderous 
counsel of the idolaters had issued in their own defeat, 
yet it was impossible that, amid the agitation which 
prevailed in Tahiti, the adjacent island of Eimeo should 
remain free from apprehension and disquiet; and al- 
though the king had sent repeated messages of a peace- 
able tendency to the conquerors, and had received 


assurances that there was no feeling of hostility to- 
wards him and his adherents, yet they knew, by past 
experience, that no reliance was to be placed on such 
professions, and were not without daily fears that a 
hostile fleet might disembark an invading army on their 

When the queen and her sister went over to Tahiti, 
Pomare undertook a journey round Eimeo, purposing 
to travel by short stages, and, by conversation with the 
chiefs of the different districts, to inform them of the 
nature of Christianity, endeavour to induce them to 
receive it, and recommend it to the people. He was 
not at first exempt from some degree of ridicule in this 
undertaking ; for many of the chiefs and landed proprie- 
tors in Eimeo were by no means strongly attached to 
his family. They were, moreover, at that time the 
firm supporters of idolatry, and considered his neglect 
of the gods of his ancestors as the cause of his own 
troubles, and the disastrous war then desolating Tahiti, 
his hereditary kingdom. He was not, however, dis- 
couraged ; and it must have been truly gratifying to 
behold him thus usefully engaged. 

Whatever may have been the influence of Christian, 
principles on his own mind, in subsequent periods of his 
life, Pomare certainly was employed by the Almighty 
as an instrument most effectually to promote the im- 
portant process, at this time changing altogether the 
moral, civil, and religious aspect of the nation. The 
success that attended his endeavours appears from a 
letter which he addressed to the missionaries while 
encamped in the district of Maatea, on the side of the 
island nearly opposite to that in which the European 
settlement stood. In this letter he stated his delight 
in beholding the chiefs inclined to obey the Word of 
God ; which, he said, Jehovah himself was causing to 
grow, so that it prospered exceedingly. Thirty-four or 
thirty-six, in one district, had, to use his own expres- 
sion, " laid hold of the Word of God," though there 
were others who paid no attention to these things. 

At Haumi, the adjoining district, but few were pre- 
vailed upon to forsake paganism ; but among them was 
an intelligent man, who was a priest. 

At Maatea, the district from which the king wrote, 
ninety-six renounced idolatry while he was there, in 
addition to others who had done so before. The change 


appeared to be general here. The chiefs, priests, and 
people publicly committed their idols to the flames, 
attended public worship, requested to have their names 
written down as desirous of becoming Christians, and 
importuned the king and his attendants to protract their 
visit, that they might be more fully informed in all the 
matters connected with the profession they had now 

The Bure Atua had hitherto escaped the ruin intended 
for them by their enemies : and, — though these were 
masters of Tahiti, — in Eimeo, and secretly in Tahiti, the 
number of those who had joined the Christians was 
greatly increased. This state of things could not long 
remain. The haughty and turbulent spirit of the victors 
was such as to prevent it : and in the event of their 
proceeding to the object for which they had taken up 
arms, viz. the suppression of Christianity, it was by no 
means improbable that both the native Christians and 
their teachers, if not destroyed by their enemies, might 
be expelled from Tahiti and Eimeo. 


The refugees in Eimeo invited to return to Tahiti— Voyage of the king and 
his adherents— Opposition to their landing— Public worship on the Sabbath 
disturbed by the idolatrous army— Courage of the king— Circumstances 
of the battle of Bunaauia— Death of the'idolatrous chieftain— Victory of the 
Christians — Clemency of the king and chiefs — Destruction of the image, 
temple, and altars of r> ro — Total subversion of paganism— General recep- 
tion of Christianity — Consequent alteration in the circumstances of the 
people— Pomare's prayer— Tidings of the victory conveyed to Eimeo— 
Visits to Tahiti. 

In the commencement of the year 1815 the affairs of 
Tahiti and Eimeo, in reference to the supremacy of 
Christianity or idolatry, were evidently tending to a 
crisis ; and although the converts had carefully avoided 
all interference in the late wars which had desolated the 
larger island, they were convinced that the time was 
not very remote when their faith and principles must 
rise pre-eminent above the power and influence of that 
system of delusion and crime of which they had so 
long been the slaves, or plunge them in the deepest 
distress, and perhaps inevitable ruin. To maintain the 


Christian faith, and enjoy a continuance of their present 
peace and comfort, they foresaw would be impossible, 
Under the influence of these impressions, the 14th of 
July, 1815, was set apart as a day of solemn fasting and 
prayer to God, whose guidance and protection were im- 
plored. A chastened and dependent frame of mind were 
very generally experienced at this period by the Chris- 
tians, which led them to be prepared for whatever in 
the course of Divine providence might transpire. 

Soon after this event, the pagan chiefs of Tahiti sent 
messengers to the refugees in Eimeo, inviting them to 
return, and reoccupy the lands they had deserted. 
This invitation they accepted ; and, as the presence of 
the king was necessary in several of the usages and 
ceremonies observed on such occasions, Pomare went 
over about the same time, formally to reinstate them in 
their hereditary possessions. A large number of Po- 
mare's adherents, who were professors of Christianity, 
and inhabitants of Huahine, Raiatea, Boraboro, and 
Eimeo, with Pomare-vahine and Mahine, the chief of 
Eimeo and Huahine, accompanied the king and the 
refugees to Tahiti. When they approached the shores 
of this island, the idolatrous party appeared in consider- 
able force on the beach, assumed a hostile attitude, 
prohibited their landing, and repeatedly fired upon the 
king's party. Instead of returning the fire, the king sent 
a flag of truce and a proposal of peace. Several mes- 
sages were exchanged, and the negotiations appeared 
to terminate in confidence and friendship. The king 
and his followers were allowed to land, and several of 
the people returned unmolested to their respective dis- 
tricts and plantations. Negotiations for the adjustment 
of the differences that had existed between the king and 
his friends, and the idolatrous chiefs, were for a time 
carried on, and at length arranged, apparently to the 
satisfaction of the respective parties. The king and 
those attached to his interest were not, however, with- 
out suspicion that it was only an apparent satisfaction ; 
and they were not mistaken. The idolaters had indeed 
joined with them in binding the wreath of amity and 
peace, while they were at the same time secretly and 
actively concerting measures for their destruction. 

The 12th of November, 1815, was the most eventful 
day that had yet occurred in the history of Tahiti. It 
was the Sabbath. In the forenoon, Pomare, and the; 


people who had come over from Eimeo, probably about 
eight hundred, assembled for public worship at a place 
called Narii, near the village of Bunaauia, in the district 
of Atehuru. At distant points of the district they sta- 
tioned pickets ; and when divine service was about to 
commence, and the individual who was to officiate stood 
up to read the first hymn, a firing of muskets was heard ; 
and looking out of the building in which they were 
assembled, a large body of armed men, preceded and 
attended by the flag of the gods, and the varied emblems 
of idolatry, were seen marching round a distant point 
of land, and advancing towards the place where they 
were assembled. It is war ! It is war ! was the cry 
which re-echoed through the place ; as the approaching 
army were seen from different parts of the building. 
Many, agreeably to the precautions of the missionaries, 
had met for worship under arms ; others, who had not, 
were preparing to return to their tents, and arm for the 
battle. Some degree of confusion consequently pre- 
vailed. Pomare arose, and requested them all to remain 
quietly in their places ; stating that they were under the 
special protection of Jehovah, and had met together for 
his worship, which was not to be forsaken or disturbed 
even by the approach of an enemy. Auna, formerly an 
Areoi and a warrior, now a Christian teacher, who was 
my informant on these points, then read the hymn, and 
the congregation sang it. A portion of Scripture was 
read, a prayer offered to the Almighty, and the service 
closed. Those who were unarmed, now repaired to 
their tents, and procured their weapons. 

In assuming the posture of defence, the king's friends 
formed themselves into two or three columns, one on 
the sea-beach, and the other at a short distance towards 
the mountains. Attached to Pomare's camp was a 
number of refugees, who had, during the late commotions 
in Tahiti, taken shelter under his protection, but had 
not embraced Christianity ; on these the king and his 
adherents placed no reliance, but stationed them in the 
centre, or the rear. The Bure Atua requested to form 
the viro or front line, advanced guard ; and the apoa viri, 
or cheek of their forces ; while the people of Eimeo, 
immediately in the rear, formed what they called the 
tapono, or shoulder, of their army. In the front of the 
line, Auna, Upaparu, Hitote, and others equally distin- 
guished for their steady adherence to the system they 


had adopted, took their station on this occasion, and 
showed their readiness to lay down their lives rather 
than relinquish the Christian faith, and the privileges it 
conferred. Mahine, the king of Huahine, and Pomare- 
vahine, the heroic daughter of the king of Raiatea, with 
those of their people who had professed Christianity, 
arranged themselves in battle-array immediately behind 
the people of Eimeo, forming the main body of the army. 
Mahine on this occasion wore a curious helmet, covered 
on the outside with plates of the beautifully spotted 
cowrie, or tiger-shell, so abundant in the islands ; and 
ornamented with a plume of the tropic or man-of-war 
bird's feathers. The queen's sister, like a daughter of 
Pallas, tall, and rather masculine in her stature and fea- 
tures, walked and fought by Mahine's side, clothed in a 
kind of armour, or defence, made with strongly twisted 
cords of romaha, or native flax, and armed with a musket 
and a spear. She was supported on one side by Farefau, 
her steady and courageous friend, who acted as her 
squire or champion; while Mahine was supported on 
the other by Patini, a fine, tall, manly chief, a relative 
of Mahine's family ; and one who, with his wife and two 
children, has long enjoyed the parental and domestic 
happiness resulting from Christianity, — but whose wife, 
prior to their renunciation of idolatry, had murdered 
twelve or fourteen children. 

Pomare took his station in a canoe with a number of 
musketeers, and annoyed the flank of his enemy nearest 
the sea. A swivel mounted in the stern of another 
canoe, which was commanded by an Englishman, called 
Joe by the natives, and who came up from Raiatea, did 
considerable execution during the engagement. 

Before the king's friends had properly formed them- 
selves for regular defence, the idolatrous army arrived, 
and the battle commenced. The impetuous attack of 
the idolaters, attended with all the fury, imprecations, 
and boasting shouts practised by the savage when rush- 
ing to the onset, produced by its shock a temporary 
confusion in the advanced guard of the Christian army : 
some were slain, others wounded, and Upaparu, one of 
Pomare's leading men, saved his life only by rushing 
into the sea, and leaving part of his dress in the hands 
of the antagonist* with whom he had grappled. Not- 

* This man was afterward an inmate of my family, and, in conversation 
on the subject, has often declared that he did not go to battle to support idol,- 


withstanding this, the assailants met with steady and 
determined resistance. 

Overpowered, however, by numbers, the viro, or front 
ranks, were obliged to give way. A kind of running 
fight commenced, and the parties intermingled in all the 
confusion of barbarous warfare. 

" Here might the hideous face of war be seen, 
Stripp'd of all pomp, adornment, and disguise." 

The ground on which they now fought, excepting that 
near the sea-beach, was partially covered with trees and 
bushes ; which at times separated the contending par- 
ties, and intercepted their view of each other. Under 
these circumstances it was that the Christians, when not 
actually engaged with their enemies, often kneeled 
down on the grass, either singly or two or three to- 
gether, and offered up an ejaculatory prayer to God — 
that he would cover their heads in the day of battle, 
and, if agreeable to his will, preserve them, but espe- 
cially prepare them for the results of the day, whether 
victory or defeat, life or death. 

The battle continued to rage with fierceness ; several 
were killed on both sides ; the idolaters still pursued 
their way, and victory seemed to attend their desolating 
march, until they came to the position occupied by 
Mahine, Pomare-vahine, and their companions in arms. 
The advanced ranks of these united bands met, and 
arrested the progress of the hitherto victorious idolaters. 
One of Mahine's men, Raveae,* pierced the body of 
Upufara, the chief of Papara, and the commander-in- 
chief of the idolatrous forces. The wounded warrior 
fell, and shortly afterward expired. As he sat gasping 
on the sand, his friends gathered round and endeavoured 
to stop the bleeding of the wound, and afford every 
assistance his circumstances appeared to require. 
"Leave me," said the dying warrior; "mark yonder 
man in front of Mahine's ranks — he inflicted this wound 
— on him revenge my death." Two or three athletic 
men instantly set off for that purpose. Raveae was 
retiring towards the main body of Mahine's men, when 

atry, about which he was indifferent ; but from the allegiance he owed to his 
chief, in whose cause he felt bound to fight, and who was leader of the idola- 
trous army. 

* In 1818 this individual accompanied us to Huahine, where he died a short 
time before I left the islands. 

pomare's moderation in victory. lit 

one of the idolaters, who had outrun his companions, 
sprang upon him before he was aware of his approach. 
Unable to throw him on the sand, he cast his arms 
around his neck and endeavoured to strangle, or at least 
to secure his prey, until some of his companions should 
arrive and despatch him. Raveae was armed with a 
short musket, which he had reloaded since wounding 
the chief; of this, it is supposed, the man who held him 
was unconscious. Extending his arms forward, Ravae 
passed the muzzle of his musket under his own arm, 
suddenly turned his body on one side, and, pulling the 
trigger of his piece at the same instant, shot his antago- 
nist through the body, who immediately lost hold of 
his prey and fell dying to the ground. 

The idolatrous army continued to fight with obstinate 
fury, but were unable to advance or make any impression 
on Mahine and Pomare-vahine's forces. These not 
only maintained their ground, but forced their adversa- 
ries back ; and the scale of victory now appeared to 
hang in doubtful suspense over the contending parties. 
Tino, the idolatrous priest, and his companions, had, in 
the name of Oro, promised their adherents a certain and 
an easy triumph. This inspired them for the conflict, 
and made them more confident and obstinate in battle 
than they would otherwise have been ; but the tide of 
conquest, which had rolled with them in the onset and 
during the early part of the engagement, was already 
turned against them, and as the tidings of their leader's 
death became more extensively known, they spread a 
panic through the ranks he had commanded. The pagan 
army now gave way before their opponents, and soon 
fled precipitately from the field, seeking shelter in their 
paris, strongholds, or hiding-places, in the mountains ; 
leaving Pomare, Mahine, and the princess from Raiatea 
in undisputed possession of the field. 

Flushed with success, in the moment of victory, the 
king's warriors were, according to former usage, pre- 
paring to pursue the flying enemy. Pomare approached, 
and exclaimed, Atira ! It is enough ! — and strictly pro- 
hibited any of his warriors from pursuing those who 
had fled from the field of battle ; forbidding them 
also to repair to the villages of the vanquished, to 
plunder their property, or murder their helpless wives 
and children. 

While, however, the king refused to allow his men to 


pursue their conquered enemies, or to take the spoils of 
victory, he called a chosen band, among which was 
Farefau, who had offered up the public thanksgiving at 
the festival in Eimeo and Patini, a near relative of Ma- 
hine, who had been his champion on that day, and sent 
them to Tautira, where the temple stood in which the 
great national idol Oro was deposited. He gave them 
orders to destroy the temple, altars, and idols, with 
every appendage of idolatry they might find. 

In the evening of the day, when the confusion of bat- 
tle had in some degree subsided, Pomare and the chiefs 
invited the Christians to assemble, probably in the 
place in which they had been during the morning dis- 
turbed — there to render thanks to God for the protec- 
tion he had, on that eventful day, so mercifully afforded. 
Their feelings on this occasion must have been of no 
common order. From the peaceful exercise of sacred 
worship, they had been that morning hurried into all the 
confusion and turmoil of murderous conflict with ene- 
mies whose numbers, equipment, implacable hatred, 
and superstitious infatuation from the prediction of their 
prophets, had rendered them unusually formidable in 
appearance, and terrible in combat. Defeat and death 
had, as several of them have more than once declared, 
appeared, during several periods of the engagement, 
almost certain ; and, in connexion with the anticipated 
extirpation of the Christian faith in their country, the 
•captivity of those who might be allowed to live, the mo- 
mentous realities of eternity, upon which, ere the close 
of the day, it appeared to themselves by no means im- 
probable they Avould enter, had combined to produce 
an agitation unknown in the ordinary course of human 
affairs, and seldom perhaps experienced even in the 
field of battle. They now celebrated the subversion of 
idolatry, under circumstances that but a few hours be- 
fore had threatened their own extermination, with the 
overthrow of the religion they had espoused, and on 
account of which their destruction had been sought. 
The Lord of Hosts had been with them, the God of 
Jacob was their helper, and to him they rendered the 
glory and the praise for the protection he had bestowed, 
and the victory they had obtained. In this sacred act 
they were joined by numbers who heretofore had wor- 
shipped only the idols of their country, but who now 
desired to acknowledge Jehovah as God alone. 


The noble magnanimity of the king and chiefs in the 
hour of conquest, when under all the intoxicating influ- 
ence of recent victory and conscious power, were no 
less honourable to the principles which they professed, 
and the best feelings of their hearts, than conducive to 
the cause of Christianity. This generous temper did 
not terminate with the command issued on the field of 
contest, but it was a prominent feature in all their sub- 
sequent conduct. 

When the king despatched a select band to demolish 
the idol temple, he said, " Go not to the little island, 
where the women and children have been left for se- 
curity ; turn not aside to the villages or plantations ; 
neither enter into the houses, nor destroy any of the 
property you may see ; but go straight along the high 
road, through all your late enemy's districts." His 
directions were attended to ; no individual was injured, 
no fence broken down, no house burned, no article of 
property taken. The bodies of the slain were not wan- 
tonly mangled, nor left exposed to the elements, or to 
be devoured by the wild dogs from the mountains, and 
the swine that formerly would have fed upon them ; 
but were all decently buried by the victors, and the 
body of the fallen chief Upufara was conveyed to his 
own district, to be interred among the tombs of his 

Upufara, the late chief of Papara,was an intelligent and 
interesting man ; his death was deeply regretted by Tati, 
his near relative, and successor in the government of the 
district. His mind had been for a long time wavering, 
and he was, almost to the morning of the battle, undeter- 
mined whether he should renounce the idols, or still con- 
tinue their votary. One of his intimate companions in- 
formed me that a short time before his death he had a 
dream which somewhat alarmed him. He thought he saw 
an immense oven (such as that used in preparing opio) 
intensely heated, and in the midst of the fire a large 
fish writhing in apparent agony, unable to get out, and 
yet unconsumed, living and suffering in the midst of the 
fire. An impression at this time fixed itself on his 
mind, that perhaps this suffering was designed to show 
the intensity of the torments which the wicked would 
endure in the place of punishment. He awoke in a 
state of great agitation of mind, with profuse perspira- 
tion covering his body, and was so affected that he could 


not sleep again that night. The same individual, who 
resided with Upufara, stated also, that only a day or 
two before the battle, he said to some one with whom 
he was conversing, "Perhaps we are wrong: let us 
send a message to the king and Tati, and ask for peace ; 
and also for books, that we may know what this new 
word, or this new religion, is." But the priests resisted 
his proposal, and assured the chiefs that Oro would 
deliver the Bure Atua into their hands, and the hau and 
rnana, government and power, would be with the gods 
of Tahiti. In addition to this, and any latent convic- 
tion that still might linger in his mind, of the power of 
Oro, and the result of his anger should he draw back, 
he stood pledged to the cause of the gods, and probably 
might feel a degree of pride influencing his adherence 
to their interest, lest he should be charged with cow- 
ardice in wishing to avoid the war, on which the 
chiefs who were united to suppress Christianity had 

The party sent by the king to the national temple at 
Tautira, in Taiarabu, proceeded directly to their place of 
destination. It was apprehended, that notwithstanding 
what had befallen the adherents of idolatry in battle, 
the inhabitants of Taiarabu, who were at that time 
more zealous for the idols than those of any other part 
of the island ; who considered it an honour to be in- 
trusted with the custody of Oro, and also regarded his 
presence among them as the palladium of their safety, 
might, perhaps, rise en masse to protect his person 
from insults, and his temple from spoliation. No at- 
tempt of this kind, however, was made. The soldiers 
of Pomare, soon after reaching the district, proceeded 
to the temple, acquainted the inhabitants of the place, 
and keepers of the temple, with the events of the war, 
and the purpose of their visit. No remonstrance was 
made, no opposition offered — they entered the depos- 
itory of Tahiti's former god ; the priests and people 
stood round in silent expectation ; even the soldiers 
paused a moment, and a scene was exhibited probably 
strikingly analogous to that which was witnessed in 
the temple of Serapis in Alexandria, when the tutelar 
deity of that city was destroyed by the Roman soldiers. 
At length they brought out the idol, stripped him of his 
sacred coverings and highly-valued ornaments, and 
threw his body contemptuously on the ground. It was 


a rude, uficarved log of aito wood, casuarina equisatifolia, 
about six feet long. The altars were then broken 
down, the temples demolished, and the sacred houses 
of the gods, together with their covering, ornaments, 
and all the appendages of their worship, committed to 
the flames. The temples, altars, and idols all round 
Tahiti were shortly after destroyed in the same way. 
The log of wood called by the natives the body of Oro, 
into which they imagined the god at times entered, and 
through which his influence was exerted, Pomare's 
party "bore away on their shoulders, and on returning 
to the. camp laid in triumph at their sovereign's feet. 
It was subsequently fixed up as a post in the king's 
kitchen, and used in a most contemptuous manner, by 
having baskets of food suspended from it ; and finally 
it was riven up for fuel. This was the end of the prin- 
cipal idol of the Tahitians, on whom they had long been 
so deluded as to suppose their destinies depended ; 
whose favour kings, and chiefs, and warriors had sought ; 
whose anger all had deprecated, and who had been the 
occasion of more bloody and desolating wars for the 
preceding thirty years than all other causes combined. 
Their most zealous devotees were in general now con- 
vinced of their delusion, and the people united in de- 
claring that the gods had deceived them, were unwor- 
thy of their confidence, and should no longer be objects 
of respect or trust. 

Thus was idolatry abolished in Tahiti and Eimeo ; 
the idols hurled from the thrones they had for ages 
occupied ; and the remnant of the people liberated from 
the slavery and delusion in which, by the cunningly 
devised fables of the priests, and the "doctrines of 
devils," they had been for ages held as in fetters of 
iron. It is impossible to contemplate the mighty de- 
liverance thus effected, without exclaiming, " What 
hath God wrought !" and desiring, with regard to other 
parts of the world, the arrival of that promised and 
auspicious era when " the gods that have not made 
the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from 
the earth, and from under these heavens,"* " and the 
idols he shall utterly abolish."! 

The total overthrow of idolatry, splendid and im- 
portant as it appeared, was but the beginning of the 

*Jer. x. 11. tlsa. ii. 18. 

Vol. II.— F 


amazing work that has since advanced progressively in 
those islands. It resembled the dismantling of some 
dark and gloomy fortress, or the razing to its very 
foundation of some horrid prison of despotism and cru- 
elty, with the materials of which, when cut and polished 
and adorned, a fair and noble structure was, on its very 
ruins, to be erected, rising in grandeur, symmetry, and 
beauty, to the honour of its Proprietor, and the admi- 
ration of every beholder. The work was but com- 
menced, and the abolition of idolatry was but one of 
the great preliminaries in those designs of mercy which 
were daily unfolded, with increasing interest and im- 
portance, in their influence on the destiny of the people. 

The conduct of the victors on the memorable 12th 
of November had an astonishing effect on the minds 
of the vanquished, who had sought shelter in the moun- 
tains. Under cover of the darkness of night, they sent 
spies from the retreats to their habitations, and to the 
places of security in which they had left their aged and 
helpless relatives, their children, and their wives. These 
found all remaining as they had been left on the morn- 
ing of the battle, and were informed by the wives and 
relatives of the defeated warriors, that Pomare and the 
chiefs had, without any exception, sent assurances 
of security to all who had fled. This intelligence, when 
conveyed to those who had taken refuge in the moun- 
tains, appeared to them incredible. After waiting, how- 
ever, some days in their hiding-places, they ventured 
forth, and singly or in small parties returned to their 
dwellings ; and when they found their plantations unin- 
jured, their property secure, their wives and children 
safe, they were astonished. From the king they re- 
ceived assurances of pardon, and were not backward in 
unitedly tendering submission to his authority, and im- 
ploring his forgiveness for having appeared in arms 
against him. 

Pomare was now, by the unanimous will of the peo- 
ple, reinstated on the throne of his father, and raised to 
the supreme authority in his dominions. His clemency 
in the late victory still continued to be matter of sur- 
prise to all the parties who had been his opponents. 
" Where," said they, " can the king and the Bure Atua 
have imbibed these new principles of humanity and 
forbearance 1 We have done every thing in our power 
by treachery, stratagem, and open force to destroy him 


and his adherents ; and yet, when the power was placed 
in his hand, victory on his side, we at his mercy, and 
his feet upon our necks, he has not only spared our 
lives, and the lives of our families, but has respected 
our houses and our property !" While making these 
inquiries, many of them, doubtless, recollected the con- 
duct of his father, in sending- one night, when the war- 
riors of Atehuru had gone over to Tautira, a body 
of men, who at midnight fell upon their defenceless vic- 
tims, the aged relations, wives, and children of the Ate- 
huruans, and in cold blood cruelly murdered upwards 
of one hundred helpless individuals ; and this probably 
made the conduct of Pomare II. appear more remark- 
able. At length, they concluded that it must be from the 
new religion, as they termed Christianity ; and hence 
they unanimously declared their determination to em- 
brace it, and to place themselves and their families 
under the direction of its precepts. 

The family and district temples and altars, as well as 
those that were national, were demolished, the idols 
destroyed by the very individuals who had but recently 
been so zealous for their preservation, and in a very 
short time there was not one professed idolater remain- 
ing. Messengers were sent by those who had hitherto 
been pagans to the king and chiefs, requesting that some 
of their men might be sent to teach them to read, and 
to instruct them concerning the true God, and the order 
of his worship. Those who sent them expressed at the 
same time their determination to renounce every evil 
practice connected with their former idolatrous life, and 
their desire to become altogether a Christian people. 
Schools were built, and places for public worship erected ; 
the Sabbath was observed ; divine service performed ; 
child-murder and the gross abominations of idolatry 
were discontinued. 

What an astonishing and happy change must have 
taken place in the views, feelings, and pursuits of the 
inhabitants of Tahiti, in the course of a few weeks from 
the battle of Narii, or Bunaauia ! A flood of light, like 
the rays of the morning, had broken in upon the intel- 
lectual and spiritual night, which, like a funeral pall, 
had long been spread over the inhabitants of the valleys 
and hills of Tahiti, and had rendered their abodes, 
though naturally verdant and lovely as the bowers of 


Eden, yet morally cheerless and desolate as the region 
of the shadow of death ! 

If the spirits of departed prophets, from their seats of 
bliss, look down upon our globe, how must .Tudah's royal 
bard have bent with rapture to behold the accomplish- 
ment of triumphs which, while he swept the hallowed 
harp of prophecy, he had foretold — the multitude of the 
isles made glad* under Jehovah's reign, and the kings 
of the isles bringing presents! to his Son ! 

With equal transport, and with greater sympathy, 
those happy disembodied spirits of just men made per- 
fect who have more recently entered on their everlast- 
ing rest, if they have a knowledge of what passes on 
earth, must have viewed the change ! And if angels, 
who have none of those sympathies which the redeemed 
must feel, experience an addition to their joy in every 
sinner that by penitence returns to God, it seems an 
inference not unwarranted by revelation, that the spirits 
of departed believers may have a knowledge of events 
and moral changes which transpire in our world, espe- 
cially with those relating to the progress of the Mes- 
siah's reign among mankind. Then with what aug- 
mented joy must that honoured and distinguished saint,J 
in strict obedience to whose last bequest and dying 
charge the South Sea mission was attempted, with those 
holy and devoted men who first matured, and subse- 
quently aided so nobly the plan of sending the gospel to 
Tahiti, have viewed the pleasing change. Those patient 
labourers also, who had toiled in the field, but had been 
called away before the first waive-sheaf was gathered 
in, must have felt their joy increased, as the enlarged 
spiritual perceptions which they possess enabled them 
to look, not only on the outward change in circumstances 
and in conduct, but on that more delightful transform- 
ation of character which every day unfolded some new 
and lovely features ! And with what ecstatic songs of 
gratitude and praise must they have welcomed to the 
realms of happiness the first arrivals from those clus- 
tering isles of redeemed and purified spirits, who had 
been made partakers of the grace of life, and heirs with 
them of immortality ! 

The knowledge of the spiritual nature of Christianity 
possessed by many of the new converts was doubtless 

* Psalm xcvii. 1. f Psalm Iyxu. 10. 

t Tot late Countess of Huntingdon. 


but imperfect, their acquaintance with the will of God 
but partial, and probably on many points at first errone- 
ous ; but still there was a warmth of feeling, an undis- 
guised sincerity, and an ardour of desire (in Scripture 
called " the first-love") that has never been exceeded 
Aged chiefs, and priests, and warriors, with their spell- 
ing-books in their hands, might be seen sitting on the 
benches in the schools, by the side perhaps of some 
smiling little boy or girl by whom they were now taught 
the use of letters. Others might be often seen employed 
in pulling down the houses of their idols, and erecting 
temples for the worship of the Prince of peace, working 
in companionship and harmony with those whom they 
had met so recently upon the field of battle. 

Their Sabbaths must have presented spectacles on 
which angels might look down with joy. Crowds, who 
never had before attended any worship but that of their 
demon gods, might now be seen repairing to the rustic 
and lowly temple erected for Jehovah's praise; amid 
their throng mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters, who 
never were before allowed to join the other sex in any 
acts of worship. Few remained behind ; all the inhabit- 
ants of the district or village, who were able, attended 
public worship. It is true there was no missionary to 
preach the gospel to them, or to lead their public service, 
yet it was performed with earnestness, propriety, and 
devotional feeling. 

The more intelligent among the natives, who had 
been longest under instruction at Eimeo, usually pre- 
sided. They sung a hymn ; a portion of their Scripture 
history, which was entirely composed of Scripture ex- 
tracts, was read ; and prayer, in simplicity of language, 
but sincerity of heart, was offered up to God. Those 
who had not printed books wrote out portions of Scrip- 
ture for these occasions, and sometimes the prayers 
they used. These were often remarkably simple, ex- 
pressive, and appropriate ; I have one of Pomare's by 
me, in his own handwriting, furnished by Mr. Nott. 
There is no date affixed to it ; but from the evident fre-» 
quency with which it has been used, and the portion of 
Scripture written on the preceding pages of the same 
sheet of paper, I am inclined to think it was written 
about this period. The prayer is excellent, and the 
translation, which I also received from Mr. Nott, will 
require from the Christian reader no apology for its 


insertion, as a specimen of the style and sentiments 
employed by the natives of Tahiti in their devotional 
services. It is as follows : — 

" Jehovah, thou God of our salvation, hear our prayers, 
pardon thou our sins, and save our souls. Our sins are 
great, and more in number than the fishes* in the 9ea, 
and our obstinacy has been very great, and without 
parallel. Turn thou us to thyself, and enable us to cast 
off every evil way. Lead us to Jesus Christ, and let 
our sins be cleansed in his blood. Grant us thy good 
Spirit to be our sanctifier. Save us from hypocrisy. 
Suffer us not to come to thine house with carelessness, 
and return to our own houses and commit sin. Unless 
thou have mercy upon us, we perish. Unless thou save 
us, unless we are prepared and made meet for thy habi- 
tation in heaven, we are banished to the fire, we die ; 
but let us not be banished to that unknown world of 
fire. Save thou us through Jesus Christ, thy Son, the 
Prince of life ; yea, let us obtain salvation through him. 
Bless all the inhabitants of these islands, all the families 
thereof; let every one stretch out his hands unto God, 
and say, Lord, save me, Lord, save me. Let all these 
islands, Tahiti with all the people of Moorea, and of 
Huahine, and of Raiatea, and of the little islands around, 
partake of thy salvation. Bless Britain, and every 
country in the world. Let thy Word grow with speed 
in the world, so as to exceed the progress of evil. Be 
merciful to us, and bless us for Jesus Christ's sake. 

While these delightful changes were advancing in 
Tahiti, the king and his friends were not unmindful of 
those who had been left behind in a state of painful 
uncertainty at Eimeo. As soon as possible after the 
battle, a canoe was despatched by Mahine, king of 
Eimeo and Huahine, with the tidings of its result. 
Matapuupuu, or, as he is now called, Taua, was the 
bearer of the gladdening intelligence, and was a very 
suitable person to be sent on such an errand. He was 
a native of Huahine, where he had been chief priest 
since the death of his elder brother, who had sustained 
that office before him. He came up from Huahine to 

* This is perhaps the most natural and expressive figure or comparison an 
lilaruler could make. There is no idea of multitude more familiar to his mind 
than that of a shoal of fishes, by which the shores he inhabits are occasionally 
or periodically visited. 


Pomare's assistance in 1811 ; early in the year 1813 he 
had made a profession of Christianity, and was among 
the first whose names were written down at Eimeo. 
He was not only a priest, but an Areoi, and a warrior 
of no ordinary prowess. When his canoe approached 
the shore of Eimeo, the teachers and their pupils 
hastened to the beach, under the conflicting emotions 
of hope and fear. The warrior was seen standing on 
the prow of his light skiff, that seemed impatiently dash- 
ing through the spray, and rushing along the tops of 
the waves towards the shore, which its keel scarcely 
touched, when, with his light mat around his loins, his 
scarf hanging loosely over his shoulder, and his spear 
in his hand, he leaped upon the sandy beach. Before 
they had time to ask a single question, he exclaimed, 
" Ua pau! Uapau! i te bure anae ;" Vanquished! van- 
quished ! by prayer alone ! His words at first seemed 
but as words of irony or jest ; but the earnestness of his 
manner, the details he gave, and the intelligence he 
brought from the king and some of the chiefs confirmed 
the declaration. 

The missionaries w r ere almost overcome with sur- 
prise, and hastened to render their acknowledgments of 
grateful praise to the Most High, under feelings that it 
would be impossible to describe. It was indeed a joy 
unspeakable, the joy of harvest. In that one year they 
reaped the harvest of sixteen laborious seed-times, six- 
teen dreary and anxious winters, and sixteen unproduct- 
ive summers. They now enjoyed the unexpected but 
exhilarating satisfaction resulting from the " pleasure of 
the Lord" prospering in their hands, in a degree and 
under circumstances that few are privileged to expe- 

As soon as possible, Mr. Nott was despatched by his 
companions to Tahiti. On reaching the shores of this 
island, from which five years before he had been obliged 
to flee for his life, he found it was all true that had been 
told them, that the people were in that interesting state 
described by the prophet, when, enraptured by the 
visions of Messiah's future glories, he exclaimed, " The 
isles shall wait for his law." In this delightful situation, 
as he travelled round the islands, he literally found them, 
not merely willing to be instructed, but anxious to hear ; 
meeting together of their own accord, and often spend- 
ing the hours of night in conversation and inquiry on 


the important matters connected with the religion of 
Jesus Christ. When he returned, Mr. Bicknell went 
over on the same errand, and observed everywhere the 
most encouraging attention, on the part of the people, to 
the instructions he communicated. The school at Pape- 
toai was greatly increased; and hundreds, who had 
been early scholars there, were now stationed as teach- 
ers among the adjacent islands, imparting to others the 
knowledge they had received. 

Not fewer than three thousand persons at this time 
possessed a knowledge of the books in their native lan- 
guage which were in daily use. Besides eight hundred 
copies of the Abridgment of Scripture, and many copies 
of part of the Gospel of St. Luke in manuscript, about 
two thousand seven hundred spelling-books had already 
been distributed among the pupils at Eimeo, or sent 
over to Tahiti ; still they were unable to meet the daily 
increasing demands of the people. 


Conduct of the Leeward Island chiefs — Hostilities in the island of Raiatea— 
Subversion of idolatry in Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, and Borabora — General 
reception of Christianity in the Society Islands — Abolition of the Areol 
society — Arrival of Mr. Crook — Pomare's family idols sent to England — 
Translation of the king's letter — Conduct of the missionaries — Accounts of 
their labours and success — Inquiries suggested by the change — Remarks on 
the time, circumstances, means, and agents, connected with the establish- 
ment of Christianity — 1'he missionaries not Unitarians. 

The mighty workings of the Spirit of God, in pro- 
ducing this remarkable change, were not confined to 
Tahiti, Eimeo, and the adjacent islands, forming the 
Georgian group; it extended also to the Leeward or 
Society Islands. A simultaneous movement appears to 
have taken place among the rulers of the people, to 
throw off the yoke of pagan priestcraft, to rend asunder 
their fetters, and remove from the eyes of the nation, 
in its remote extremities, the veil of delusion by which 
they had so long been blinded. Tamatoa, the king of 
Raiatea, shortly after his return from Tahiti, publicly 
renounced idol worship, and declared himself a be- 
liever in Jehovah and Jesus Christ. Many of the 


chiefs, and a number of the people followed his ex- 

The prince of darkness, the author of paganism, 
whose sway had been unrivalled, and whose seat and 
strong-hold had long been here as well as in the other 
islands, did not tamely surrender his dominions. The 
idolatrous chiefs and inhabitants took up arms to defend 
the cause of the gods, and revenge the insult offered 
by the king. Their efforts, however, were but as the 
ragings of an expiring monster whose fangs were 
broken, and whose heart had been pierced. The idolaters 
were defeated, and afterward treated with the same 
clemency and lenient conduct which the Christian con- 
querors in Tahiti had manifested, and Christianity was 
firmly established. The vanquished, however, though 
spared and liberated by the generosity of Tamatoa, 
showed themselves unworthy of the kindness with 
which they had been treated, by still talking of war on 
behalf of the idols. But as their numbers were few, 
their influence small, and as the great body of the 
people were doubtless favourable to the new order of 
things, hopes of success were comparatively faint, and 
no further attempt was made. 

The chiefs and greater part of the population of 
Tahaa, an island included in the same reef with Raiatea, 
imitated the example of Tamatoa and the Raiatean 
Christians, and destroyed their idols. 

The intelligent and enterprising chiefs of Borabora, 
Mai, and Tefaaora were remarkably active in weaken- 
ing the influence of the gods on the minds of the peo- 
ple under their government, undermining and subvert- 
ing every species of idol-worship that prevailed in the 
islands. They succeeded at length in inducing the in- 
habitants, by their example and persuasion, to seek an 
acquaintance with that more excellent w r ay revealed in 
the Word of God, for whose worship they erected a 
convenient and respectable building. 

Mahine sent a special message to Huahine, and the 
same change took place in that island ; which was per- 
haps, for its size and population, more attached to its 
idols than any other. Idol-worship, with all its attend- 
ant cruelty and moral degradation, was discontinued. 
The temples were demolished, and the gods committed 
to the flames. Thus in one year the system of false 
worship, which had from the earliest antiquity of its 


population, prevailed in these islands, was happily abol- 
ished — it is hoped, to be revived no more. 

In the course of the following year, the loss sus- 
tained by the death of Mr. Scott was repaired by the 
arrival of Mr. Crook from New South Wales ; he 
reached the islands in the month of May, and ren- 
dered important service in the prosecution of the com- 
mon enterprise. 

During the same year the profession of Christianity 
became general throughout the whole of the Society 
Islands. By universal consent, the infamous Areoi 
society was destroyed at the same time. Its own 
members appear to have made no efforts to preserve, 
and no class of the community even solicited, its con- 
tinuance. The entire dissolution of this association, 
and the abolition of its cruel and abominable practices, 
on the introduction of Christianity, is one of the most 
powerful demonstrations God has given to his church 
and to the world of the irresistible operation of those 
means which he has appointed for the complete demo- 
lition of the very strong-holds of paganism, and the 
universal extension of virtue and of happiness among 
the most profligate and debased of mankind. It is a 
matter of devout acknowledgment to the Almighty, by 
whose power alone the means employed have been 
rendered efficacious in its annihilation, and furnishes a 
cause of hallowed triumph to the friends of moral 
order, humanity, and religion. 

No sooner did these deluded, polluted, and cruel peo- 
ple receive the gospel of Christ, the elevated senti- 
ments, sacred purity, and humane tendency of which 
convinced them that it must have originated in a source 
as opposite to that whence idolatry had sprung, as light 
is to darkness, than the spell in which they had been 
for ages bound was dissolved, and the chains of their 
captivity were burst asunder. They were astonished 
at themselves, and were a wonder to all who beheld 
them. The fabled legends by which, as by enchant- 
ment, they had been deceived, were banished from their 
recollections ; the abominations and the bloodshed to 
which they had been addicted ceased ; and they be- 
came moral, virtuous, affectionate, devout, and upright 
members of a Christian community. There is reason 
to believe that many even of the Areois have been 
purified from their moral defilement, in that blood 


which cleanseth from all sin, and that the language 
addressed by the apostle to the Corinthians* may with 
propriety be applied to them. 

The astonishing and gratifying change which has 
taken place among them, nothing but Christian prin- 
ciples could have effected. Numbers of the Areois 
early embraced Christianity, and some from the highest 
orders were among the first converts. With few ex- 
ceptions, they have been distinguished by ardour of 
zeal and steady adherence to the religion of the Bible. 
Many of them have been its most regular and laborious 
teachers in our schools, and the most efficient and suc- 
cessful native missionaries. Among this class, also, 
as might naturally be expected, have been experienced 
the most distressing apprehensions of the consequences 
of sin, and the greatest compunction of mind on ac- 
count of it. Many of them immediately changed their 
names, and others would be happy to obliterate every 
mark of that fraternity, the badges of which they once 
considered an honourable distinction. I have heard 
several wish they could remove from their bodies the 
marks tattooed upon them, but these figures remain too 
deeply fixed to be obliterated, and perpetually remind 
them of what they once were. It is satisfactory to 
know that not a few have enjoyed a sense of the par- 
doning mercy of God, and though some have been dis- 
tressed in the prospect of death, others have been 
happy in the cheering hope, not of a pagan elysium, 
or a sensual sort of Turkish paradise, but of a holy 
and peaceful rest in the regions of blessedness. 

One of these, whose name was Manu, bird, resided 
at Bunaauia, in the district of Atehuru. His age and 
bodily infirmities were such as to prevent his learning 
to read ; yet he constantly attended the school, and from 
listening to others, was able to repeat with correctness 
large portions of the Scriptures, which were regularly 
read by the pupils. From meditation on these, he de- 
rived the highest consolation and support. He was an 
early convert to Christianity; his deportment was uni- 
formly upright ; his character respected by all who 
knew him ; and for several years before his death he 
was a member of the Christian church at Burder's 
Point. The recollection of the abominations and ini- 

* 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10,11- 


quity of which he had been guilty while a member of 
the Areoi institution, though not greater than those of 
his companions in crime, often filled his mind with hor- 
ror and dismay. Whenever he alluded to that society, 
or to the crimes committed by its members, it was 
always with evident feelings of the deepest distress. 
From these it was his mercy to find relief through faith 
in the atonement of Christ. This was his only ground 
of hope for pardon from the Most High ; and when, by 
thus looking to the great means of purity and peace, he 
was enabled to rest in hope, and his mind became calm 
and peaceful, tears of contrition were often seen, while 
he gratefully remembered the amazing love of God. 
Towards the latter part of his life his pastor had the 
pleasure of observing the greatest circumspection and 
moral purity in his whole conduct, with a high and in- 
creasing degree of spirituality of mind and tranquil 
joy. How striking the contrast which the evening of 
his days must have presented to the early part of his 
life, spent among the impure, degraded, and wretched 
members of that infamous association to which he be- 
longed ! It is not surprising that his own mind should 
have been so deeply affected ; but from all the moral 
pollution and guilt then contracted he was washed and 
renewed, and prepared for the society of the blessed in. 
the abode of purity and happiness. He died suddenly 
on the 5th March, 1823 ; and, to use the language of the 
missionary who watched his progress and his end with 
the deepest interest, we doubt not that he is gone to 
be with that Saviour " whom he loved with all his 

Soon after the abolition of idolatry by the inhabitants 
of Huahine, Raiatea, and the adjacent islands, several 
of the chiefs and fhe people of Borabora and Raiatea 
visited Maurua, the most westerly of the Leeward 
Islands, and succeeded in persuading the chiefs and 
people to demolish their temples and idols, and receive 
Christian instruction. The most pleasing results con- 
tinued also to attend the efforts of the new converts 
in Tahiti. 

In the beginning of 1816 Pomare sent most of his 
own family idols to the missionaries, that, as he ob- 
served in a letter accompanying them, dated February 
lath, " they might either commit them to the flames, 

pomare's letter, with the idols. 133 

or send them to England." These idols I saw at Port 
Jackson ; they are now deposited in the Missionary 
Museum, Austin Friars. It is impossible to behold them 
without sympathizing in the feelings of Pomare, when 
he calls them " Tahiti's foolish gods." The following 
is a translation of the letter which he sent with them. 
Its interesting contents will justify its insertion. 


May you be saved by Jehovah and Jesus Christ our Saviour. 
This is my speech to you, my friends. I wish you to send 
those idols to Britane for the Missionary Society, that they may 
know the likeness of the gods that Tahiti worshipped. Those 
were my own idols, belonging to our family from the time of 
Taaroamanahune even to Vairaatoa ; and when he died he left 
them with me. And now, having been made acquainted with 
the true God, with Jehovah, He is my God, and when this 
body of mine shall be dissolved in death, may the Three-One 
save me ! And this is my shelter, my close hiding-place, even 
from the anger of Jehovah. When he looks upon me, I will 
hide me at the feet of Jesus Christ the Saviour, that I may 
escape. I feel pleasure and satisfaction in my mind ; I rejoice, 
I praise Jehovah, that he hath made known his Word unto me. 
I should have gone to destruction if Jehovah had not interposed. 
Many have died, and are gone to destruction, kings and com- 
mon people ; they died without knowing any thing of the true 
God ; and now, when it came to the small remainder of the 
people, Jehovah hath been pleased to make known his Word, and 
we are made acquainted with his good Word, made acquainted 
with the deception of the false gods, with all that is evil and 
false. The true God Jehovah, it was he that made us ac- 
quainted with these things. It was you that taught us ; but 
the words, the knowledge, was from Jehovah. It is because 
of this that I rejoice, and I pray to Jehovah, that he may in- 
crease my abhorrence of every evil way. The Three-One, He 
it is that can make the love of sin to cease ; we cannot effect 
it ; it is the work of God to cause evil things to be cast off, 
and the love of them to cease. 

I am going a journey around Tahiti, to acquaint the Raatiras 
with the Word of God, and to cause them to be vigilant about 
good things. The Word of God does grow in Tahiti, and the 
Raatiras are diligent about setting up houses for worship, they 
are also diligent in seeking instruction, and now it is well with 

That principal idol, that has the red feathers of the Otuu, is 
Temeharo, that is his name, look you ; you may know it by the 
red feathers ; that was Vairaatoa's own god, and those feathers 


were from the ship of Lieutenant Watts ;* it was Vairaatoa 
that set them himself about the idol. If you think proper, you 
may burn them all in the .fire ; or, if you like, send them to 
your country, for the inspection of the people of Europe, 
that they may satisfy their curiosity, and know Tahiti's fool- 
ish gods ! 

This also is one thing that I want to inquire of you ; when 
I go round Tahiti, it may be that the Raatiras and others will 
ask me to put down their names ; what shall I do then! Will 
it be proper to write down their names ? It is with you — you 
are our teachers, and you are to direct us. We have had our 
prayer-meeting the beginning of this month, February ; it was 
at Homai-au-Vahi ; the Raatiras, and all the people of the dis- 
trict assembled, leaving their houses without people. They 
said to me, " Write down our names." I answered, " It is 
agreed." Those names are in the enclosed paper, which I have 
sent for your inspection. Have I done wrong in this? Per- 
haps I have : let me, my friends, know the whole of your 
mind in respect of this matter. 

May my friends be saved by Jehovah the true God ! I have 
written to Mahine for a house for the use of the missionaries, 
when they arrive ; you will let Mahine know where the house 
is to be, and he will get the people to remove it there. Let it 
be at Uaeva, near you. 

It is reported here that there is a ship at Morea, and I was 
thinking it might be the ship with the missionaries ; but it may 
be that it is only an idle report. However, should the mission- 
aries arrive at Morea, write to me quickly, that I may know. 
Let me know also what news there may be from Europe and 
from Port Jackson. Perhaps King George may be dead, let 
me know. I shall not go around Tahiti before the month of 

May you be saved, my friends, by Jehovah, and Jesus Christ, 
the only Saviour by whom we sinners can be saved. 

Pomare, King of Tahiti, &c. &c. 

Tahiti Motu Ta, Feb* 19, 1816. 

It was shortly after these events had transpired that 
we reached the islands. Previous to our embarkation 
from England we had heard that a favourable change 
in regard to Christianity had taken place in the minds 
of the king of Tahiti and a few of the people. On our 
arrival in Port Jackson this intelligence was confirmed, 
and we were also encouraged by the accounts we re-> 

* The Ladv Psnrhvn, which visited Tahiti in 1788 

the author's arrival. 135 

ceived of the abolition of idolatry by the whole of the 
inhabitants of the Georgian or Windward Islands. 

When we arrived we found, not only that the reports 
we had heard were correct, but that the change had 
progressively advanced, becoming daily more extensive 
in its influence and decisive in its character, and that 
the whole of the inhabitants were no longer idolaters, 
but either professors of Christianity or desirous to re- 
ceive religious instruction. 

It was naturally a matter of the deepest interest to a 
missionary, important in all its bearings on the object 
nearest to his heart, and first in the aims and the purposes 
of his life. 

The accounts given by the missionaries, on my first 
arrival, and the many interesting facts which subse- 
quently came to my knowledge, when I had acquired 
such an acquaintance with the language of the people 
as to be able to pursue my inquiries among them, have 
made an impression on my own mind that will never be 
effaced, and not only excited the highest delight, but 
convinced me that, in the circumstances under which 
the change occurred, the agency by which it was ac- 
complished, and the continuance of its effects, it is alto- 
gether one of the most remarkable displays of Divine 
power that has occurred in the history of mankind, and 
is, perhaps, unparalleled since the days of the apostles. 
Detached notices of this event have been transmitted 
to England in the letters of the missionaries, and in the 
different publications of the Missionary Society. No 
connected and regular account has, however, yet been 
furnished ; but in reviewing all that has been recorded, 
it may be confidently affirmed, in the language of the 
deputation sent by the society to the South Seas, that 
" God has indeed done great things here." 

It is much to be regretted that the missionaries on 
the spot — who were intimately acquainted with every 
indication of the moral and spiritual process that was 
going on, even in its incipient stages, and every event 
which marked its gradual development, until, in the 
language of the natives on another but similar occasion, 
it burst upon them like the light of the morning — did 
not, at the time, prepare a full and particular account 
of the work which, under God, they had been instru- 
mental in effecting : but their motto always was, to 
" say too little rather than too much" — to persevere in, 


labour, rather than employ their time in detailing their 
engagements — and to exercise the greatest caution and 
brevity in speaking of any thing connected with them- 
selves or the people around them, lest subsequent events 
should disappoint the anticipations which existing fa- 
vourable appearances might originate. This prudential 
reserve, on some accounts, cannot be too highly com- 
mended ; yet it is possible to carry it too far: and in 
the present instance, however honourable to the individ- 
uals who maintained it, it cannot be doubted that the 
world has been thereby deprived of a full record of 
events intimately connected with the destinies of the 
people among whom they transpired, and with the 
propagation of the gospel in the most distant parts of 
the world, during every future age of the Christian 

I have endeavoured to present an outline of this great 
change. I would, however, only offer it as a substitute 
for the more explicit statement which my predecessors 
in the islands might render ; and if, by attracting their 
attention to the subject, 1 should induce them to furnish 
such a desideratum, my attempts will not have been 
altogether in vain. Should this be elicited, they will 
confer no ordinary benefit on the cause of missions, 
and afford great satisfaction to the Christian world. 

A number of interesting and important inquiries is 
naturally suggested by this amazing change ; and we are 
anxious to be made acquainted with every fact, in the 
application of those means which induced its commence- 
ment and sustained its progress. In all its departments, 
and under every circumstance, it bears the impress, and 
exhibits, in the clearest manner, the sovereignty and 
the power of the Almighty, in regard alike to the time 
of its commencement, the circumstances of its progress, 
and the means of its accomplishment. 

In regard to the time of its occurrence. During no 
period in the history of the mission could " the time to 
favour" the nation have appeared more unlikely than 
the present. The king's mind appears to have been first 
seriously exercised in reference to the declaration which 
he subsequently made, after the dispersion of the mis- 
sionaries, and their departure from the islands, when 
only one (viz. Mr. Nott) remained with him, and when, 
in consequence of the state of perpetual alarm and agi- 
tation in which the people were kept by the war, none 


could be induced to attend preaching or instruction. It 
is probable that at that period public ordinances were 
altogether discontinued. The first public or open in- 
dications of the change were given at a time which, ac- 
cording to human probabilities, was but little favourable 
to such events. The missionaries had but recently re- 
turned from their banishment, and the work of instruc- 
tion had scarcely been resumed ; it was the beginning, 
and but the beginning, of a second attempt to plant the 
gospel in those islands. The missionaries, considering 
the whole of the twelve years spent in Tahiti as so much 
time lost, were commencing afresh their endeavours on 
another island, and could hardly expect that at this time, 
after such a protracted delay, God would at once prosper 
their enterprise. 

The circumstances of the nation and of the mission 
were by no means favourable to such a change. It 
was not a time of peace and leisure, but of protracted, 
obstinate, and barbarous war — the king and his adhe- 
rents were in exile, alternately agitated by the entreaties 
of their auxiliaries to attempt to retrieve their affairs 
by a descent upon Tahiti, or expecting their retreat to 
be invaded by their audacious and rebellious conquerors. 
It was a period of humiliation, darkness, and distress ; 
while the population of Tahiti itself was torn by factions 
and desolated by wars, that threatened its extinction. 
Their teachers were not much more favourably circum- 
stanced. Few in number, compared with what they 
had been when they maintained their former station in 
Matavai, and suffering under the heaviest domestic 
bereavements ; prevented by personal indisposition and 
other circumstances from engaging either very fre- 
quently or extensively in the main work of instructing 
the people — their exertions, greatly to their own regret, 
were exceedingly circumscribed. In addition to these 
discouragements, the prejudices of many of the king's 
most warm and valuable friends were unusually strong, 
as they considered the continuance of his misfortunes 
to result, in part, from the countenance he gave, and the 
inclination he manifested towards the religion of the 

In the means employed there was nothing extraordk 
nary. It is recorded in the history of the Greenland 
missions that the Moravian brethren, for five or seven 
years, laboured patiently and diligently in teaching 


their hearers what are termed the first principles of 
religion — inculcating the doctrines of the being and 
attributes of God, and the requirements of his law — 
without making the least favourable impression upon 
them, or being in many instances able to secure the 
attention of the people to their instructions. The first 
instance of decisive and salutary effect from their teach- 
ing was, we are informed, what would in general be 
termed accidental, and occasioned by their reading to 
some native visiters an account of the sufferings and 
death of the Saviour, which they were translating into 
the vernacular tongue. The attention of one of the 
party was arrested, his heart deeply affected, and ulti- 
mately his character entirely changed. This circum- 
stance led to a complete alteration in the instructions 
they gave. The incarnation, the life, especially the 
sufferings and death, of the Lord Jesus Christ, were 
from this time the principal subjects brought before the 
minds of their hearers ; and the results were such as 
to show the propriety of the alteration. Where they 
had before been unable to make the least impression, 
they now beheld numbers deeply affected, on whom 
these truths appeared to produce an entire change of 
character and deportment. I do not, however, suppose 
we are to infer from the account that is given of this 
amazing work in Greenland, that, during the first five 
or seven years of their labours there, the being and 
character of God, &c. were inculcated, to the exclusion 
or neglect of the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. 
Their teaching would, in that case, have been more de- 
fective than I am willing to suppose it was. Nor do I 
think we are to conclude, that after the change in their 
instruction, the doctrine of the Saviour's advent, suffer- 
ings, and death was insisted on, to the exclusion of 
the former ; this mode of exhibiting Scripture truth 
would have been almost as defective as the other : but 
I suppose that during the earliest years of their labours 
the first principles of religion were more frequent and 
prominent in their instructions than the doctrines 
peculiar to the gospel, and that subsequently these 
points received that more frequent attention which the 
character, being, and law of God had formerly obtained. 
No alteration, even of this kind, however, appears to 
have taken place in the kind of doctrines inculcated by 


the missionaries among the Tahitians. From the time 
of my arrival in the islands, I had always a great desire 
to know whether any change had been made by the 
early preachers in their discourses, and other means 
employed at this period : but I have not been able to 
learn that there was any thing extraordinary ; they do 
not appear in any respect to have varied the manner or 
the matter of their instructions. I have often asked 
Mr. Nott, and others who were on the spot, if there 
was any alteration in the mode of instruction, or the 
nature of their addresses, as to the prominency of any 
of the doctrines of the gospel, which had not been so 
fully exhibited before ; but I have invariably learned 
that they were not aware of the least difference in the 
kind of instruction, or the manner of representing the 
truths taught at this period, and those inculcated during 
their former residence in Tahiti. 

Their aim had always been to exhibit fully, and with 
the greatest possible simplicity, the grand doctrines and 
precepts taught in the Bible, giving each that share of 
attention which it appeared to have obtained in the 
volume of revelation. God they had always endeav- 
oured to represent as a powerful, benevolent, and holy 
Being, justly requiring the grateful homage and willing 
obedience of his creatures. Man they had represented 
as the Scripture described him, and their own observa- 
tion represented him to be, a sinner against his Maker, 
and exposed to the consequences of his guilt ; the love 
of God, in the gift of his only-begotten Son as a pro- 
pitiation for sin, and the only medium and ground of 
reconciliation with God, restoration to the enjoyment 
of his favour, and the blessing of immortality. The 
death of Christ in the place of the sinner, and faith in 
this atonement, as the sinner's justification before God, 
were truths most frequently exhibited. The doctrine 
of Divine benevolence, thus displayed, was altogether 
new to the Tahitians ; nothing analogous to it had ever 
entered into any part of their mythology. Its impres- 
sion on their minds was at this time proportionate. The 
necessity also of Divine influences, to make the declara- 
tion of these truths effectual to conversion, and to 
meeten those who believed for the heavenly state, had 
ever been inculcated in the catechetical and other 
exercises of the school, in the meetings for reading the 



Scriptures and conversation, and in the discourses de- 
livered in their assemblies for public worship.* 

* Since the publication of the former edition of this work, I have not been a 
little surprised, as most of my readers may suppose, lo find the missionaries 
in the South Sea islands classed by Unitarians among the teachers of Unila- 
rianism. At the last annual meeting of the " British and Foreign Unitarian 
Association," held at Manchester, Dr. Carpenter, in a speech published in the 
" Report of the Proceedings,'' made the following statement : — " The accounts 
1 have heard given by Mr. Ward, of his method of instructing the Hindoos, 
brought nothing into view which I should not myself have gladly taught them ; 
and those who have examined the work of Mr. Ellis on the South Sea Islands 
(Polynesian Researches; may perceive that in them the simple principles of 
Unitarianism are essentially taught." The speech containing these affirma- 
tions was made, alter a public dinner, in connexion with a toast referring to 
missionary exertions— a subject at all times inappropriately brought forward 
when associated with usages of conviviality, derived not from a Christian 
source, and in the observance of which good old George Herbert's advice, 

'• Drink not the third glass," 
is not always regarded. Christianity is not, as some of its enemies have 
misrepresented it, a morose, unsocial system ; it is eminenily adapted to pro- 
mote cheerfulness and social, as well as individual enjoyment ; but its 
enjoyment is of another and a higher order than that of which the mere animal 
parts ol our nature are susceptible — the excitement of wine- beneai lithe influ- 
ence of which, the loftiness and energy of intellect, and the kindliest affec- 
tions of the human heart, are often alike degraded and destroyed. On occasions 
of festivity, when toast follows toast, though the parties may not have passed 
the boundaries of sobriety, the giving of Christian sentiments as toasts is not 
very honourable to Christianity itself. It is like introducing the sacred form 
of religion, entwining the leaves of the ivy and the vine around her brow, 
placing ihe bacchanalian cup in her hand, and causing her to uiter the responses 
which direct the orgies of the place. The habit of sitting, or standing up, and 
repeating, before drinking a glass of wine after d.nner, a religious sentiment, 
is much less followed than formerly ; and the sooner it is altogether discon- 
tinued the better. The practice is not peculiar to Unitarians, though, at the 
Manchester dinner, the toast in support of which Dr. Carpenter's speech was 
made was one of a series, which according to the Report, extended to 

It is not, however, my object now to remark on the toasts, nor even the 
speech of Dr. Carpenter, excepting so far as the speech regards the instruc- 
tions given to the Tahitians. It is not necessary that I should offer any vin- 
dication of what Mr. Ward and his companions taught the Hindoos. His 
sermon on the Love of Christ, besides other public records which he has left, 
prevent its being questionable whether he taught Unitarianism or not. And 
I cannot but regret that by Dr. Carpenter, towards whom I entertain no other 
feelings than those of respect, and desire to use no other language than that 
which courtesy would dictate, any statement in these volumes should have 
been so misunderstood as to have occasioned the declaration to which I have 
felt it needful to refer. It is somewhat singular that my companions and my- 
self, though in each instance we have inculcated the same sentiments, should 
have been represented by one class of readers as, " by my own account," 
usually choosing for subjects of address "the immaculate conception, the 
Trinity, and the Holy Ghost, and other mysterious doctrinal points ;" and by 
another class, as teaching " the simple principles of Unitarianism." 

It is difficult to suppose, that when this latter assertion was made, it simply 
meant, that in connexion with other great doctrines of revelation, the mission- 
aries taught that in opposition to the " lords many, and the gods many," the 
gods of wood, and stone, and feathers, the works of their own hands, which 
the heathen worshipped, there was One living and true God. By "other 
great doctrines of revelation" 1 refer, in addition to the existence, perfections, 
and character of the true God, to the doctrine of the fall of man from his 


The wonderful change that now seemed to be wrought 
in the minds and hearts of many did not appear to be 
more the immediate result of instructions given at the 
time than the remote, but certain effect of truth im- 
parted, and precious seed, which, having been scattered 
years before, was now revived with a power that the 
individuals themselves could not comprehend, nor on 
ordinary principles explain. This circumstance should 
never be lost sight of ; it is a wonderful manifestation 
of the faithfulness of God, who has declared that his 

original state of rectitude and happiness; and, in consequence of this, to an 
inherent disposition to prefer and practise evil, and an exposedness to its pen- 
alty ; to the Messiah, the divinely appointed and only means of deliverance; 
to the divinity of Christ ; to the atonement by his de it b ; to faith in him as the 
sinner's justification before God; and to the divinity of the Holy Spirit, and 
the necessity of his influence to render the declaration of the gospel effectual 
to those to whom it was proclaimed. 

If Dr. Carpenter meant that, with these doctrines as parts of a revelation to 
the completeness of which they were essential, and in the full declaration of 
which their own fidelity was to be proved, the missionaries inculcated a belief 
in one God, he must have known that the term Unitarianism, when used as 
descriptive of such teaching, was inapplicable to the sentiments of those who 
have desianated themselves Unitarians. But if, when Dr. Carpenter stated 
that in the South Sea islands "the simple principles of Unitarianism are 
essentially taught," he meant that the missionaries instructed the natives in 
the belief of one God, to the exclusion or neglect of the other great doctrines of 
revelation above staled, viz. that they taught what those whom he addressed 
considered as the essential principles of Unitarianism— then the assertion 
y.ppears entirely gratuitous. 

There is not, and there has not been, a single missionary there, since their 
first establishment, now Ibur-and-thirly years ago, who, had he inculcated 
what Unitarians themselves call Unitarianism, would not have been regarded 
by his companions as having renounced his faith, and forsaken his Lord. The 
command of Christ to teach all nations, in obedience to which the missionary 
had devoted his life to the labour of preaching the gospel, directed him to bap- 
tize every proselyte in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost, and thus explicitly enjoined the exhibition of the doctrine of the Trinity, 
which every Unitarian professes to deny ; and, so far as Polynesian Re- 
searches is concerned, the affirmation appears without the least foundation. 

In confirmation of this, it is unnecessary to do more than refer to the 
work itself. The passage in connexion with which these remarks are intro- 
duced, together with every other, in which the sentiments held or taught by 
the missionaries are stated, are sufficient to show that they have not promul- 
gated a mutilated gospel — the vast accession of enjoyment to all classes 
shows that is not a melancholy system; while the opinions expressed by 
the converts themselves show that their faith is not what is usually denomi- 
nated Unitarian. This is abundantly proved by the statements made in sea- 
sons when men are most likely to be sincere ; the near approach to ihe unseen 
world, and the direct appeal to the Most High in prayer. Illustrations of th'8 
remark may be found in Pomare's prayer, recorded in page 126 ; his letter, 
page 133; the experience of the dying Areoi, page 132; (he conduct of the 
astonished native on hearing lhe3d chapter of St John's Gospel, as given in 
page 143 of the present volume; and other places, which it is needless to 
enumerate. On the tenets of Unitarian?, their adaptation to the circum- 
stances of ignorance, depravity, guilt, and wretchedness, inseparable from 
paganism, even in its most favourable circumstances, I make no remarks. 

The foregoing statement of the teaching of the missionaries in ihe Soutfi 
Sea islands I have deemed not less just to them than due to my readers. 


Word shall not return unto him void, but shall be found 
even after many days ; and it is remarkably adapted to 
cheer the hearts of all who are called to labour and wait 
patiently, sowing season after season in hope, without 
reaping the wished-for harvest. 

The universal, and in many instances decisive, moral 
and religious change that has been effected in the South 
Sea islands (of the commencement and more important 
parts of which a regular, though necessarily brief, account 
has now been given), appears, in whatever view we 
can possibly contemplate either its nature or its results, 
nothing less than a moral miracle. A change so im- 
portant in its character, so rapid in its progress, so deci- 
sive in its influence, sublime almost in proportion to the 
feebleness of the agency by which it was, under God, 
accomplished, although effected on but a small tribe or 
people, is perhaps not exceeded in the history of nations, 
or the revolutions of empires, that have so often altered 
the moral and civil aspect of our world. This great and 
important event, confirmed in its results, and strength- 
ened in its character by the extension of its influence, 
and the increasing power of the principles it implanted, 
during the last fourteen years, already occupies no infe- 
rior place among the modern evidences of Christianity, 
and the demonstrations of its legitimate tendency to 
ameliorate the condition, and elevate the moral and in- 
tellectual character, of the most wretched and depraved 
among mankind. Emotions of astonishment, admira- 
tion, and gratitude involuntarily arise in every mind in 
the least degree susceptible of humanity or religion ; 
while increasing convictions of the divine origin of reve- 
lation must fasten on the understanding, and additional 
encouragement strengthen the hopes of every individual 
who, according to the promise of God, is anticipating 
the arrival of a period when a transformation equally 
decisive and lovely shall change the moral deserts of the 
earth into regions of order and beauty, and the wilder- 
ness shall become as the garden of the Lord. 

In order more fully to illustrate the kind of Scripture 
truth that appears, in connexion with others, to have 
affected deeply the minds of the people, one single in- 
stance, among many that might be adduced, will show 
that in the mild and verdant islands of the south, as well 
as the frozen and barren regions of the north, in Tahiti 
as well as in Greenland, the attractions of the Cross 


move and melt the human heart. It was the custom 
of the missionaries, not only to instruct the natives in 
the school, preach to them in the chapel, and itinerate 
through the villages, but to assemble them for the pur- 
pose of reading, from manuscript, such portions of the 
Scripture as were deemed suitable to their circum- 
stances. On one of these occasions, Mr. Nott was 
reading the first portions of the gospel of St. John to a 
number of the natives. When he had finished the six- 
teenth verse of the third chapter, a native, who had 
listened with avidity and joy to the words, interrupted 
him and said, " What words were those you read ? what 
sounds were those I heard 1 let me hear those words 
again." Mr. Nott read again the verse, " God so loved," 
&c, when the native rose from his seat and said, " Is 
that true 1 can that be true 1 God love the world when 
the world not love him ! God so loved the world as to 
give his Son to die, that man might not die ! Can that 
be true V Mr. Nott again read the verse, " God so 
loved the world," &c, told him it was true, and that 
it was the message God had sent to them, and that 
whosoever believed in him would not perish, but be 
happy after death. The overwhelming feelings of the 
wondering native were too powerful for expression or 
restraint. He burst into tears, and as these chased each 
other down his countenance, he retired to meditate in 
private on the amazing love of God, which had that day 
reached his soul ; and there is every reason to believe 
he was afterward raised to share the peace and happi- 
ness resulting from the love of God shed abroad in his 

Connected with the means employed in the accom- 
plishment of this important work, a few remarks on the 
agents who, under God, were instrumental in effecting 
it, may not be inappropriate. In common with the mis- 
sionaries in other parts of the world, they have been 
described by the enemies of religion as ignorant and 
dogmatical fanatics ; more intent on the inculcation of 
the peculiarities of their sect or party than promoting 
the well-being of the people ; holding out no induce- 
ment, by precept or example, to industrious habits, &c. 
The present state of the islands in which they have 
spent so many years, compared with what it was at the 
time of their arrival, and during several subsequent 
years, is a sufficient refutation to every charge of this 


But there are individuals from whose general habits 
of observation, and principles of judgment, it might have 
been supposed a more just conclusion would have been 
formed, who have occasionally described them as the 
most unsuitable agents that could have been employed. 
This mode of representation, although I do not regard 
the missionaries or their proceedings as perfect, 1 con- 
sider to be far from just. It is not my intention to eulo- 
gize their labours, or to lavish panegyric upon their 
achievements. But in the estimate of their character, 
qualifications, and exertions, a variety of considerations 
ought to have a greater influence on the minds of those 
by whom they are thus represented than they are some- 
times allowed to exert. Missionary effort, on the ex- 
tended scale, and in the distant and comparatively unex- 
plored field in which they attempted it, was an event 
as new among the British churches as the broad catho- 
lic principles upon which it was undertaken were un-; 

The authentic information possessed by many who 
combined in arranging the plan, as well as by those who 
attempted its execution, was not only exceedingly lim- 
ited, but received through a medium* that necessarily 
imparted a higher glow of colouring than those channels 
through which more accurate accounts have since been 
transmitted. Many, no doubt, embarked in the enter- 
prise, as subsequent events fully proved, with incorrect 
ideas of the work, or mistaken views of the qualifica- 
tions necessary for its accomplishment. It is not, 
however, to those who abandoned the task that I refer, 
so much as to those who (except when driven from it 
by the approaching desolations of murderous war) main- 
tained their post and died in the field; or who, after 
having sustained the privation and toil of thirty years 
of exile from country and from home, are still willing to 
end their days among the people with whose interests 
and destiny they have identified themselves. 

Their family connexions may not indeed have been 
of the highest class, neither may the individuals them- 
selves have enjoyed the advantages of a very liberal edu- 
cation, nor possessed any very extensive acquaintance 
with the world. It is only in comparatively recent 
times that individuals of this class have, by embarking 

* Voyages of Cook, Bligh, &c. 


personally on the arduous and self-denying work of 
propagating Christianity among pagan nations, exhibited 
some noble examples of Christian devotedness. Many 
of the first missionaries to the South Sea islands were 
acquainted with the most useful of the mechanic arts, 
which were adapted to produce a favourable impression 
upon the minds of the people. They had obtained a 
creditable English, if not a classical, education, a due 
knowledge of the Scriptures, and an experimental ac- 
quaintance with the principles of Christianity ; while 
some with great mental vigour combined no small de- 
gree of intellectual culture. Their own improvement, 
and the preparation for instructing the people, were 
prosecuted contemporaneously with their efforts to 
teach the people ; and the numerous and respectable phi- 
lological and other manuscripts which these have trans- 
mitted to England, although never published, show that 
they were far from being unqualified for their work. 

Had the first mission to the South Seas been com- 
posed entirely of individuals eminent for their scientific 
knowledge and classical attainments, they would proba- 
bly have been less suitable agents than those who 
actually went ; as it may be presumed their previous 
habits of life would not have furnished the best prepara- 
tives for the privations and difficulties to which they 
would have been exposed. Yet it would undoubtedly 
have been highly advantageous to the mission had some 
such gifted individuals been included among its mem- 
bers. Such were not, however, at that time so ready 
as they have subsequently been to engage in the enter- 
prise ; individuals of this class do not appear to have 
understood that the highest attainments and noblest 
powers are best employed, and their Author most hon- 
oured, when they are exerted in a cause which, of all 
others, presents the strongest claims, and affords the 
most suitable sphere for their successful operation. The 
service, therefore, necessarily devolved on those who 
were willing, under every accompanying disadvantage, 
to undertake it. They were not perhaps distinguished 
by brilliancy of genius or loftiness of intellect ; but in 
uncompromising sternness of principle, unaffected piety, 
ardour of devotedness, uncomplaining endurance of pri- 
vations (not easily comprehended by those who have 
always remained at home, or visited only civilized por- 
tions of foreign climes), in undeviating perseverance, 

Vol. II.— G 


in exertion under discouragements the most protracted 
and depressing, and in plain and honest detail of their 
endeavours and success, they have heen inferior to few 
who have been honoured to labour in the missionary 
field. I have known some of these devoted men who, 
though not insensible to the endearments of kindred 
and home, and the comforts of civilized life, have for 
years been deprived of what most would deem the ne- 
cessaries of life. These self-denying individuals have 
been so destitute of a change of apparel that they could 
not, without some sacrifice of feeling, meet any of their 
own countrymen by whom the island might be visited ; 
and often, rising in the morning from the rustic bed, 
without knowing whence the supplies of even native 
food for the day were to be derived, they have sent out 
a native servant-boy to seek for bread-fruit in the moun- 
tains, or to solicit a supply from the trees of some 
friendly chief in the neighbourhood, while they have 
repaired to the school, and pursued their daily instruc- 
tion, cheered and encouraged only by the progress of 
their scholars. 

Such are the men who have long laboured in these 
islands ; and though others may have been associated 
with them who have turned back, or proved themselves 
unequal to the -station, where many who stand firm at 
their post at home would perhaps have fainted, or have 
fallen under the discouragements inseparable from it — 
they have been faithful. They seek not the praise that 
cometh from man, but the testimony of their consciences, 
and the approval of Heaven ; and, irrespective of the 
honour God has put upon them, they are entitled, from 
their steady and successful course, to be "highly es- 
teemed for their works' sake." 



Arrival in the South Sea islands — Anchorage in Matavai — Visit from Pomare— 
Landing his horae— Interview with the queen and princess— Astonishment 
of the natives on viewing the horse and his rider— Voyage to Eimeo — 
Opunohu, or Taloo harbour— Landing at Eimeo— Welcome from the 
natives— First night on shore — Present from the chiefs— Visit to the 
schools— First Sabbath in the islands— Description of the native chapel — 
Appearance and behaviour of native congregations— Voyage to Afareaitu — 
Native meal— Description of Afareaku — Removal thither — Means of con- 
veyance — Arrival at the station. 

In the interesting state described in the preceding 
chapter we found the inhabitants on our arrival in the 
early part of 1817. 

In the afternoon of the 4th of February we sailed 
from Tubuai ; but, in consequence of unfavourable winds, 
did not reach Tahiti till the 10th. As we approached 
its southern shore, a canoe came off with some natives, 
who brought a pig and vegetables for sale ; but the wind 
blowing fresh, we soon passed by, and had little more 
than a glance at the people. About sunset we found 
ourselves a short distance to the northward of Point 
Venus, having sailed along the east and northern shores 
of Tahiti, charmed with the rich and varied scenery of 
the island, justly denominated the queen of the Pacific, 
whose landscapes, though circumscribed in extent, are 

" So lovely, so adorned 
With hill, and dale, and lawn, and winding vale, 
Woodland, and stream, and lake, and rolling seas," 

that they are seldom surpassed, even in the fairest 
portions of the world. 

On the morning of the 16th of February, 1817, as the 
light of the day broke upon us, we discovered that dur- 
ing the night we had drifted to a considerable distance 
from the island; the canoes of the natives, however, 
soon surrounded our vessel ; numbers of the people 
were admitted on board, and we had the long-desired 
satisfaction of intercourse with them, through the me- 
dium of an interpreter. They were not altogether so 
prepossessing in person as, from the different accounts 


I had read, I had been led to anticipate. The impres- 
sion produced by our first interview was, notwithstand- 
ing, far from being unfavourable ; we were at once 
gratified with their vivacity, and soon after with the 
simple indications of the piety which several exhibited. 
A good-looking native, about forty years of age, who 
said his name was Maine, and who came on board as a 
pilot, we invited to our breakfast. We had nearly 
finished when he took his seat at the table ; yet before 
tasting his food he modestly bent his head, and shading 
his brow with his hand, implored the Divine blessing on 
the provision before him. Several of the officers were 
much affected at his seriousness ; and though one at- 
tempted to raise a smile at his expense, it only elicited 
from him an expression of compassion. To me it was 
the most pleasing sight I had yet beheld, and imparted 
a higher zest to the enjoyment I experienced in gazing 
on the island as we sailed along its shores. 

Mid-day was past before we entered Matavai bay. 
As we sailed into the harbour we passed near the coral 
reef, on which Captain Wallis struck on the 19th of 
June, 1767, when he first entered the bay. His ship 
remained stationary nearly an hour; and, in conse- 
quence of this circumstance, the reef has received the 
name of the Dolphin Rock. As we passed by it we 
felt grateful that the winds were fair and the weather 
calm, and that we had reached our anchorage in safety. 

Matavai is rather an open bay, and although screened 
from the prevailing trade-winds, is exposed to the 
southern and westerly gales, and also to a considerable 
swell from the sea. The long fiat neck of land which 
forms its northern boundary was the spot on which 
Captain Cook erected his tents, and fixed his instru- 
ments for observing the transit of Venus, on which ac- 
count it has ever since been called Point Venus. Ex- 
cepting those parts enclosed as gardens or plantations, 
the land near the shore is covered with long grass, or 
a species of convolvulus, called by the natives pohue ; 
numerous clumps of trees, and waving cocoanuts, add 
much to the beauty of its appearance. A fine stream, 
rising in the interior mountains, winds through the sin- 
uosities of the head of the valley, and, fertilizing the 
district of Matavai, flows through the centre of this 
long neck of land into the sea. 

Such, without much alteration, in all probability, was 


the appearance of this beautiful bay when discovered 
by Captain Wallis, in 1767; and two years after, when 
first visited by Captain Cook ; or when Captain Bligh, 
in the Bounty, spent six months at anchor here in 1788 
and 1789, when Captain Vancouver arrived in 1792, 
Captain New, of the Daedalus, in 1793, and Captain Wil- 
son, in the Duff, who anchored in the same bay on the 
6th of March, 1797. 

It was on the northern shores of this bay that eighteen 
of the missionaries who left England in the Duff first 
landed, upwards of thirty years ago. 

And although the scene before me was now one 
of loveliness and quietude, cheerful, yet placid as the 
smooth waters of the bay, that scarcely rippled by the 
vessel's side, it has often worn a very different aspect. 
Here the first missionaries frequently heard the song 
accompanying the licentious Areois dance, the deafen- 
ing noise of idol-worship, and saw the human victim 
carried by for sacrifice : here, too, they often heard 
the startling cry of war, and saw their frighted neigh- 
bours fly before the murderous spear and plundering 
hand of lawless power. The invaders' torch reduced 
the native hut to ashes, while the lurid flame seared 
the green foliage of the trees, and clouds of smoke 
rising up among their groves, darkened for a time sur- 
rounding objects. On such occasions, and they were 
not unfrequent, the contrast between the country and 
the inhabitants must have been most affecting, appear- 
ing as if the demons of darkness had lighted up infernal 
fires even in the bowers of paradise. 

Most of the islanders who had boarded us in the 
morning continued in the ship ; others arrived as we 
approached the bay ; and long before we anchored our 
decks were crowded with natives. Our prepossessions 
in their favour continued to increase, and we viewed 
them with no ordinary interest, as those among whom 
we were to spend the remainder of our days. Many 
of them wore some article of European dress, and all 
were attired in native cloth, though several had only a 
maro, or broad girdle, round the waist. There was a 
degree of openness in their countenances, and v ; vacity 
in their manners, which was not unpleasing. 

We had not been long at anchor before Pomare sent 
us a large albicore, and a variety of provisions, and 
shortly after came on board. I was struck with his 


tall and almost gigantic appearance ; he was upwards 
of six feet high, and seemed about forty years of age. 
His forehead was rather prominent and high, his eye- 
brows narrow, well defined, and nearly straight ; his 
hair, which was combed back from his forehead and 
the sides of his face, was of a glossy black colour 
slightly curled behind ; his eyes were small, sometimes 
appearing remarkably keen, at others rather heavy ; 
his nose was straight, and the nostrils by no means 
large ; his lips were thick and his chin projecting. He 
was arrayed in a handsome tiputa, of native manufac- 
ture. His body was stout, but not disproportioned to 
his height; and his limbs, though well formed, were not 
firm and muscular. He welcomed me to Tahiti, but at 
the same time appeared disappointed when he learned 
that only one missionary had arrived, having been led 
to expect several. His acquaintance with English was 
very partial, and mine with Tahitian much more so ; 
our conversation was consequently neither free nor 
animated. He inquired after King George, Governor 
Macquarrie, and Mr. Marsden ; the time of our departure 
from New-Holland, the nature of our voyage, &c. 
These inquiries I answered, and handed him a number 
of small presents which I had brought from England, 
adding a curious penknife of my own, which he had 
appeared desirous to possess. He had a small English 
Bible, and at his request I read to him one or two chap- 
ters. He appeared to understand in some degree the 
English language, although unable to speak it. After 
spending some time in the cabin, the king went to see 
the cattle we had brought from New South Wales, and 
particularly a horse, which the owners of the ship had 
sent him as a present. 

Pomare was greatly delighted with the horse, and in 
the course of the afternoon the poor animal, after hav- 
ing been hung in slings, and unable to lie down during 
the greater part of the voyage, was hoisted out of the 
hold, to be taken ashore in a large pair of canoes which 
the king had ordered alongside for that purpose. During 
this transition, while the horse was suspended midway 
between the gangway and the yard-arm, some of the 
bandages gave way; when the animal, after hanging 
some time by the neck and fore-legs, to the great ter- 
ror both of Pomare and the captain, slipped through 
the slings, and clearing the ship's side, fell into the 


sea. He instantly rose to the surface, and snorting as 
if glad even under these circumstances to gain his free- 
dom, swam towards the shore ; but the natives no 
sooner saw him at liberty than they plunged into the 
water, and followed like a shoal of sharks or porpoises 
after him. Some seizing his mane, others his tail, en- 
deavoured to hold him, till the terrified creature ap- 
peared in great danger of a watery grave. The captain 
lowered down the boat, the king, shouting, directed the 
natives to leave the horse to himself, but his voice was 
lost amid the din and clamour of the crowds that ac- 
companied the exhausted and frightened animal to the 
land. At length he reached the beach in safety ; and 
as he rose out of the water the natives on the shore fled 
with precipitation, climbing the trees, or crouching be- 
hind the rocks and the bushes for security. When, how- 
ever, they saw one of the seamen, who had landed with, 
the captain from the ship, take hold of the halter that 
was on his neck, they returned to gratify their curiosity. 
Most of them had heard of horses, and some of them 
had perhaps seen those belonging to Mai (Omai), landed 
on the island by Captain Cook forty years before, but it 
was undoubtedly the first animal of the kind the greater 
part of them had ever seen. 

The king had not been long on board when the queen 
arrived, and was ushered into the cabin. Her person 
was about the middle stature, her complexion fairer 
than any other native 1 have seen, her form elegant, 
and her whole appearance prepossessing. Her voice, 
however, was by no means soft, and her manners were 
less engaging than those of several of her companions. 
She was habited in a light loose and flowing dress 
of beautifully white native cloth, tastefully fastened on 
the left shoulder, and reaching to the ankle ; her hair 
was rather lighter than that of the natives in general, 
and on her head she wore a light and elegant native 
bonnet of green and yellow cocoanut leaves ; each ear 
was perforated, and in the perforation two or three 
flowers of the fragrant Cape jessamine were inserted. 
She was accompanied by her sister Pomare-vahine. 
Aimata, the young princess, only daughter of Pomare 
and the queen, who appeared about six years of age, was 
brought by her nurse, and followed by her attendants 
into the cabin. We delivered the few presents we had 
brought for them, regretting that we could not enter 


into conversation. They spent about two hours on 
board, and then, followed by their numerous retinue, 
returned to the shore. 

Soon after sunrise the next morning, our vessel was 
surrounded with canoes, and provisions in abundance 
were offered for barter. Pomare also sent us a present. 

About nine o'clock, I saw crowds of natives repairing 
towards the place where the horse had been tied up, 
in charge of one of Pomare's favourite chiefs ; and 
shortly afterward he was led out, while the multitude 
gazed at him with great astonishment. Soon after 
breakfast, our captain landed with the saddle and bridle 
and other presents, which Mr. Birnie of Sidney had 
sent out with the horse. They were delivered to Po- 
mare, who requested that the saddle and bridle might 
be put on the horse, and that the captain would ride 
him. His wishes were complied with, and the multi- 
tude appeared highly delighted when they saw the ani- 
mal walking and running along the beach with the cap- 
tain on his back. They called him buaa-horo-fenua and 
buaa-afai-taata, land-running pig and man-carrying pig. 
About midday the captain returned to the ship, and we 
shortly afterward weighed anchor and sailed for the 
island of Eimeo. 

We enjoyed a most delightful sail along the northern 
part of Eimeo the next morning, and soon after twelve 
o'clock anchored in the spacious and charming bay 
of Opunohu, or, as it is usually called by foreigners, 
the harbour of Taloo. 

Long before we anchored, Messrs. Bicknell, Wilson, 
Henry, and Davies came on board, followed by the other 
members of the mission, who greeted our arrival with 
satisfaction. We accompanied them to the shore, and 
landed on the western side of the bay, in the afternoon 
of the 13th of February, 1817, happy under circumstances 
of health and comfort to enter upon our field of future 
labour, and grateful for the merciful providence by 
which we had been conducted in safety to the end 
of our long and eventful voyage. 

On reaching the habitations of the missionaries, we 
were cordially welcomed to their society, and were 
rejoiced to behold them cheered by the intelligence we 
had brought, and the prospect of receiving a still greater 
accession to their numbers. The evening passed pleas- 
antly and rapidly away ; many of the pious inhabitants 


and chiefs in the neighbourhood came to greet our 
arrival, with evident emotions of delight ; among them 
was one whose salutation I shall never forget : " la ora 
na oe i te Atua, la ora oe i te haere raa mai to nei, no te 
Aroha o te Atua oe i tae maiai." " Blessing on you from 
God, peace to you in coming here, on account of the 
love of God are you come." These were his words. 
His person was tall and commanding, his hair black and 
curling, his eyes benignant, and his whole countenance 
beamed with a joy that declared his tongue only obeyed 
the dictates of his heart. His name was Auna, a native 
of Raiatea, formerly an Areoi and a warrior, who had 
arrived, with numbers of his countrymen, to the support 
of Pomare, after his expulsion from Tahiti, but whose 
heart had been changed by the power of the gospel 
of Christ. He was afterward associated with us at 
Huahine, subsequently became my fellow-labourer in 
the Sandwich Islands, and was, when I last heard from 
the islands, about to be ordained pastor of a Christian 
church in Sir Charles Sanders's Island. 

At a late hour we retired to rest, but not to sleep. We 
needed and sought repose, but the incidents of the day 
had produced a degree of excitement that did not 
speedily subside ; in addition to which, the constant and 
loud roaring of the surf kept us awake till nearly day- 
break. The house in which we lodged was near the 
shore ; and the long, heavy billows of the sea, rolling in 
successive surges over the coral reefs that surround 
the island, kept up through the night a hollow and 
heavy sound, resembling that produced by the rumbling 
of carriages in a vast city, heard at a distance in the 
stillness of evening. The wall, or outside of the dwell- 
ing, was composed only of large sticks or poles placed 
perpendicularly from the floor to the roof, two or three 
inches apart, so that we could see the ocean on one 
side, and the dark outline of the inland mountains on 
the other : while looking up through the roof, which 
was in this respect like Ossian's ghost, we discerned 
the stars twinkling in a blue and cloudless sky. We 
did not, however, feel the air too cool, and our lodging 
was quite as good as that in which the missionaries to 
the Sandwich Islands passed their first night in Hono- 
ruru ; and much better than Mr. Marsden and his com- 
panion procured in New-Zealand. The first night he 
passed on shore he slept on the earthen floor, by the 


side of a warrior, the murderer of the crew of the Boyd, 
and a cannibal; and the spot on which he lay was en- 
circled by native spears fixed in the ground. 

In the morning we arose somewh;it refreshed, and in 
the course of the day landed our goods from the vessel. 
A house had been prepared by the king for the expected 
missionaries, but as it was damp, and our residence at 
Papetoai was not likely to be permanent, we took up 
our abode in a dwelling already occupied in part by Mr. 
Crook and his family. 

I was astonished at the accounts I now received of the 
change that had taken place among the people. The 
profession of Christianity was general, many had learned 
to read and were teaching others, all were regular in 
their exercises of devotion, and in many of the small 
gardens attached to the native houses it was pleasing 
to see the little fare burc huna, house for hidden prayer. 
The missionaries who in 181-2 had returned from Port 
Jackson were joined in 1816 by Mr. Crook, who had 
been formerly stationed by Captain Wilson in the Mar- 
quesas. They had visited Tahiti for the purpose of 
preaching to the inhabitants, but they had not been able 
to re-establish the mission in their original station, and 
were, consequently, all residing at Eimeo when we 

The chiefs of the district and island soon visited us, 
received a few articles as presents, and appeared highly 
gratified with what they saw, especially with some en- 
gravings of natural history. They sent us a present 
of food, or, as they call it, " faaamua" a feeding; con- 
sisting of two or three large pigs, which were dragged 
along by force, squalling all the way, and tied to a stick 
near the door; a number of bunches of plantains, ba- 
nanas, cocoanuts, and bread-fruit were also brought, 
and piled up in three heaps on the sand, near the pigs. 
I was then called out, and a native repeated the names 
of the chiefs who had sent us the food ; and pointing to 
the heaps of fruit and the pigs, said one was for me, and 
another for Mrs. Ellis, and the third for our infant 
daughter. He then directed the native servants of the 
house to take care of it, and departed. 

Soon after my arrival, I visited the school, and was 
greatly delighted to behold numbers of adults as well 
as children, under the direction of Messrs. Davies and 
Tessier, learning their alphabet and their spelling, or 


reading with distinctness their lessons, which were 
principally extracts from Scripture. 

The building in which they were taught stood near 
the sea-beach, under the shade of a clump of cocoanut- 
trees. Though of no very durable kind, it appeared 
well adapted for the purpose to which it was appropri- 
ated. It was upwards of sixty feet long, but rather nar- 
row. The thatch was composed of the leaves of the 
pandanus, neatly fastened on rafters of purau or hibis- 
cus, and the walls, or sides and ends, were formed with 
straight branches resembling the rafters, and planted in 
the ground about two inches asunder. There was a 
door at each end ; windows were altogether unnecessary 
in such a building, as the space between the poles 
forming the outside admitted light and air in abundance, 
and wind with rain sometimes in larger quantities than 
was quite agreeable. The floor, which was of sand, 
was covered with long dry grass. A rustic sort of table 
or desk, between three and four feet high, stood on one 
side, equally distant from each end, and the whole of the 
building was filled with low forms, on which the natives 
were sitting ; while on one side I saw one or two forms 
longer and broader than the rest, with small ledges on 
the sides, filled with sand, for the purpose of teaching 
writing after the manner of the national schools in 
England. A number of pillars in the centre supported 
the" ridge-pole, or rather the different ridge-poles, which 
unitedly sustained the roof. The different joints in 
these, and the narrow horizontal boards supporting the 
bottoms of the rafters, presented a kind of chronological 
index to the history of the place. It was first erected 
by the liberality of a gentleman in London. He pre- 
sented to Tapioi, the Marquesan youth who accompa- 
nied Mr. Bicknell to England, the articles with which 
the natives were hired to build this first school and 
chapel in Eimeo. It was then much more compact, 
and the width better proportioned than it now appeared. 
It had always been employed, not only as a school, but 
also as a chapel. When the number of scholars and 
worshippers of the true God increased, so as to render 
accommodation difficult, one of the ends had been 
taken down, a new piece of timber joined to the ridge- 
pole, the building lengthened about twelve or fifteen 
feet, and the end then closed up. When the place 
became again too small, a similar enlargement had been 


made ; and as the new piece which supported the roof 
was laid upon the former ridge-pole, it distinctly marked 
the increase of Christian worshippers at the place 
within the last four or five years. 

The first Sabbath I spent in the islands was a day 
of deep and delightful interest. The missionaries were 
accustomed to meet for prayer at sunrise on the morning 
of the Sabbath. This service 1 attended, and was also 
gratified to find that not fewer than four or five hundred 
of the natives, imitating their teachers in this respect, 
met for the purpose of praise and supplication to the 
true God, during the interval of public worship, which 
was held early in the morning and at four in the after- 

About a quarter before nine in the morning, I accom- 
panied Mr. Crook to the public worship of the natives, 
held in the same house in which I had visited the 
school a day or two before. It was, indeed, a rude and 
perishable building, totally destitute of every thing im- 
posing in effect or exquisite in workmanship ; yet I 
beheld it with emotions of pleasure, as the first roof 
under which the natives of Tahiti had assembled in any 
number to receive the elements of useful knowledge, 
to listen with attention and satisfaction to the Word 
of God, and to render publicly unto Him their grateful 
praise ; for, 

" Though gilded domes, and splendid fanes, 
And costly robes, and choral strains, 

And altars richly dress'd; 
And sculptur'd saints, and sparkling gems, 
And mitred priests, and diadems, 

Inspire with awe the breast : 

" 'Tis not the pageantry of show 
That can impart devotion's glow, 

Nor sanctify a prayer. 
The soul enlarged, devout, sincere, 
With equal piety draws near 

The holy house of God, 
That rudely rears its rustic head, 
Scarce higher than the Indian's shed ; 
By Indians only trod." 

The place was thronged with people, and numbers 
were standing or sitting round the doors and the out- 


side of the building. When we arrived, they readily 
made way for us to enter; when a scene, destitute 
indeed of magnificence and splendour as to the structure 
itself, or the richness in personal adornment of its 
inmates, but certainly the most delightful and affecting 
I had ever beheld, appeared before me. Between five 
and six hundred native Christians were there assembled 
to worship the true God. Their persons were cleanly, 
their apparel neat, their countenances either thoughtful 
or beaming with serenity and gladness. The heads of 
the men were uncovered, their hair cut and combed, 
and their beards shaven. Their dress was generally a 
pareu round the waist, and a native tiputa over their 
shoulders, which covered the upper part of the body 
excepting the arms. The appearance of the females 
was equally interesting; most of them wore a neat and 
tasteful bonnet, made of the rich yellow-tinted cocoa- 
nut leaf. Their countenances were open and lively; 
many had a small bunch of the fragrant and delicately 
white gardinia,or Cape jessamine flowers, in their hair, 
in addition to which, several of their chief women wore 
two or three fine native pearls fastened together with 
finely braided human hair, and hanging pendent from 
one of their ears, while the other was adorned with a 
native flower. Their dress was remarkably modest and 
becoming, being generally what they term ahu bu, which 
consists of large quantities of beautifully white native 
cloth, wound round the body, then passed under one 
arm, and fastened on the other shoulder, leaving uncov- 
ered only the neck and face and part of one arm. 

The assembly maintained the most perfect silence, 
until Mr. Davies, who officiated on the occasion, and 
was seated behind the table, which answered the double 
purpose of a desk for the schoolmaster, and a pulpit for 
the minister, rose, and gave out a hymn in the native 
language. The whole congregation now stood, and 
many of them joined in the singing. A prayer was 
then offered, during which the congregation remained 
standing ; another hymn was sung ; the people then sat 
down, and listened attentively to a discourse, delivered 
by the missionary standing on the ground behind the 
desk. When this was ended, a short prayer was offered, 
the benediction pronounced, and the service closed. 
The assembly dispersed with the utmost propriety and 
order ; many of them as they passed by cordially shook 


me by the hand, and expressed their joy at seeing me 
among them. My joy and excitement of feeling was 
not less than theirs, There was something so pleasing 
and novel in their appearance, so peculiar in their 
voices when singing, and in their native language, both 
during the prayers and sermon, and something so solemn 
and earnest in their attention, with such an air of sin- 
cerity and devotion during the whole service, that it 
deeply affected my heart. I was desirous of speaking 
to them in return, and expressing the grateful satisfac- 
tion with which I had beheld their worship ; but the 
scene before me had taken such a powerful hold of my 
feelings that I returned home in silence, filled with 
astonishment at the change that had taken place, and 
deeply impressed with the evidence it afforded of the 
efficacy of the gospel, and the power of the Almighty. 
At eleven o'clock I attended public worship in the 
English language. 

At four in the afternoon the natives again assembled, 
and 1 attended at their worship. Though I could not 
understand their language, I was pleased with the large 
attendance, and the serious and earnest manner in which 
the people listened to an animated discourse delivered 
by Mr. Nott. In the evening several of the missiona- 
ries met for social worship, and with this sacred exer- 
cise we closed our first Sabbath in the Society Islands, 
under a deep impression of the advantages of Chris- 
tianity, and the pleasing effects which we had that day 
witnessed of Divine influence over the hearts of the 
most profligate idolaters. 

In the afternoon of the succeeding Sabbaths, I visited 
a number of Christian chiefs at their own houses. We 
usually found them either reading together, conversing 
on the contents of their books, or some other religious 
subject. At Hitoti's dwelling, which I visited on the 
second Sabbath after my arrival, the household were 
about to kneel down for prayer when we entered ; we 
joined them, and several of the petitions which the 
chief offered up to God appeared when interpreted by 
my companion, remarkably appropriate and expressive. 

In the course of my first week on shore, I made sev- 
eral excursions in different parts of the district. The 
soil, in all the level part of the valley, was a rich vege- 
table mould, with a small portion of alluvial, washed 
down from the surrounding hills, which are generally 


covered with a stiff kind of loam or brownish-red ochre. 
Several large plantations were well stocked with the 
different productions of the island ; but a large portion 
of the valleys adjacent to the settlement was un- 
cultivated, and covered with grass or brush-wood, 
growing with all the rank luxuriance that a humid atmo- 
sphere, a tropical sun, and a fertile soil would com- 
bine to produce. 

I also accompanied one of the missionaries on a voy- 
age to the opposite side of the island, about twenty 
miles distant from the settlement at Papetoai. Two 
natives paddled our light single canoe along the smooth 
water within the reefs, till we reached Morn, where we 
landed, to take some refreshment at the house of a 
friendly chief. This was the first native meal 1 had sat 
down to, and it was served up in true Tahitian style. - 
When the food was ready, we were requested to seat 
ourselves on the dry grass that covered the floor of the 
house. A number of the broad leaves of the purau, 
hibiscus tileaceus, having the stalks plucked off close to 
the leaf, were then spread on the ground, in two or three 
successive layers, with the downy or under side upwards, 
and two or three were handed by a servant to each 
individual, instead of a plate. By the side of these 
vegetable plates a small cocoanut-shell of salt-water 
was placed for each person. Quantities of fine large 
bread-fruit, roasted on hot stones, were now peeled and 
brought in, and a number of fish that had been wrapped 
in plantain leaves, and broiled on the embers, were 
placed beside them. A bread-fruit and a fish was handed 
to each individual, and, having implored a blessing, we 
began to eat, dipping every mouthful of bread-fruit or 
fish into the small vessel of salt-water, — without which, 
to the natives, it would have been unsavoury and taste- 
less. I opened the leaves, and found the fish nicely 
broiled ; and, imitating the practice of those around me, 
dipped several of the first pieces I took into the dish 
placed by my side ; but there was a bitterness in the sea- 
water which rendered it rather unpalatable ; I therefore 
dispensed with the further use of it, and finished my 
meal with the bread-fruit and fish. 

About two o'clock in the afternoon we resumed our 
journey ; travelling sometimes along the sea-beach, and 
at other times availing ourselves of the canoe, until 


near sunset, when we reached Afareaitu, and created by 
our arrival no small stir among the people. 

The next morning we examined the district, and were 
delighted with its fertility, extent, and resources. Afa- 
reaitu is on the eastern side of Eimeo, opposite the dis- 
trict of Atehuru in Tahiti, and is certainly one of the 
finest districts in the island. It comprises two valleys, 
or rather one large valley partially divided by a narrow 
hilly ridge, extending from the mountains in the interior 
towards the shore. The soil of the bottom of the val- 
ley is rich and fertile, well stocked with cocoanuts and 
bread-fruit trees. The surrounding hills are clothed 
with shrubs or grass, and the lofty and romantic moun- 
tains, forming the central boundary, are adorned with 
trees or bushes even to their summits. Several broad 
cascades flowed in silvery streams down the sides of 
the mountain, and, broken occasionally by a jutting rock, 
presented their sparkling waters in beautiful contrast 
with the rich and dark foliage of the stately trees, and 
the flowering shrubs that bordered their progress. A 
number of streams originating in these waterfalls pur- 
sued their course through the valley, and one, receiving 
in its way the tributary waters of a number of seques- 
tered streamlets, swelled at times into what in these 
islands might be called a river, and flowed along the 
most fertile portions of the district to the sea. 

A small bay was formed by an elliptical indentation 
of the coast ; an opening in the reef opposite the bay 
admitted small vessels to enter ; and a picturesque little 
coral island, adorned with two or three clumps of hibis- 
cus and cocoanut-trees, added greatly to the beauty of 
its appearance. There was no swamp or marshy land 
between the shore and the mountains ; the ground was 
high, and the whole district not only remarkably beau- 
tiful, but apparently dry and healthy. The abundance 
of natural productions, the apparent salubrity of the 
air, the convenience of the stream of water, the facility 
of the harbour, combined to recommend it as an eligible 
spot for at least the temporary residence of a part of 
the missionaries. We therefore waited on the principal 
chiefs, one of whom had accompanied us from Pape- 
toai, and inquired if it would be agreeable to them for 
us to come and reside there. They expressed them- 
selves pleased with the prospect of such an event, and 
promised every assistance in the erection of our 


horses, &c. Having accomplished the object of our 
visit, we left Afareaitu, and returned to Papetoai the 
same evening. 

The circumstances of the inhabitants of the wind- 
ward and leeward islands, most of whom had renounced 
idolatry, and their earnest desire to receive religious 
instruction, rendered it exceedingly desirable that the 
missionaries should no longer remain altogether at Pa- 
petoai, but establish themselves in the different islands ; 
but the vessel which they had commenced building in 
1813 being still unfinished, and the anticipation of a con- 
siderable accession to their numbers, induced them to 
defer forming any new station until such reinforcement 
should arrive. 

The natives in the several islands were in want, not 
only of teachers, but also of books. I had taken out a 
printing-press and types, and having, at the request of 
the directors, learned the art of printing in England, it 
was proposed that, as a temporary measure, to supply 
the existing demand for books, the press should be set 
up at Afareaitu. By this arrangement two stations would 
be formed in Eimeo, and the whole of the inhabitants 
be brought more fully under religious instruction. In 
order to carry these plans into effect, we left Papetoai 
on the 25th of March, with Mr. Davies, Mr. and Mrs. 
Crook, and family. Mrs. Ellis and myself, with an 
infant and her nurse, set out in a native canoe, having 
most of our goods and luggage on board. Mr. Crook 
and family preceded us in a fine large double canoe, 
called Tiaito'erau, literally, " wait for the west wind," 
from tiai, to wait, and toerau, we-st wind. 

The wind was contrary when we started ; and, after 
proceeding only five miles, we landed at Tiataepuaa, the 
usual residence of the chiefs of Eimeo. Here we found 
Mr. Crook and his family waiting our arrival, to join in 
partaking of the breakfast they had prepared. 

As soon as our men had refreshed themselves, we 
embarked in our respective canoes, and, resuming our 
voyage, proceeded along the smooth surface of the sea 
between the reefs and the shore. The wind died away, 
and a perfect calm succeeded. The heat of the sun 
was intense, and its scorching effect on our faces was 
increased by the reflection of the sea. This consider- 
ably diminished the pleasure we derived from watching, 
through the perfectly transparent waters, the playful 


movement of the shoals of small and variegated rock- 
fish, of every rich and glowing hue, which often shone 
in brilliant contrast with the novel and beautiful groves 
of many-coloured coral, that rendered the sandy bottom 
of the sea, though frequently several fathoms beneath 
us, in appearance at least, an extensive and charming 
submarine shrubbery, or flower-garden. The corallines 
were spread out with all the endless variety and wild 
independence exhibited in the verdant landscape of the 
adjacent shore. 

The heat of the sun, and the oppressiveness of the 
atmosphere, with the labour of rowing with their pad- 
dles our heavily laden canoes every inch of the way, 
had so fatigued our men, that when we reached A-ti- 
ma-ha, fifteen miles from the place whence we started 
in the morning, we deemed it expedient to land for the 

I took a ramble through the district a short time before 
sunset, and was delighted with the wild and romantic 
beauty of the surrounding scenery, — the luxuriant 
groves of trees, and the shrubs, that now covered the 
fertile parts of this almost uninhabited district. In 
every part I met with sections of pavement, and other 
vestiges of former inhabitants ; and was deeply affected 
in witnessing the depopulation thus indicated, and 
which is found to have taken place throughout the 

Notwithstanding the total absence of every thing re- 
sembling accommodation in our lodging, where we 
spread our bed upon the ground, we should probably 
have enjoyed a night of refreshing sleep, but for the 
mosquitoes. In these thinly-peopled, damp, and woody 
districts, they are exceedingly numerous and annoying, 
especially to those who have recently arrived ; and 
although during my subsequent residence in the island 
I was less incommoded by them, I was on this occasion 
glad to escape their noise, &c. by leaving the house soon 
after midnight, and walking along the shore or sitting 
on the beach until daybreak. 

Heavy showers detained us at Atimaha until ten 
o'clock in the forenoon, when we pursued our voyage. 
At Maatea I landed about twelve o'clock, and walked 
through the district of Hauiue to Afareaitu. The wind 
was contrary throughout the day, and it was near sun- 
set before Mrs. Ellis and our little girl, with her nurse, 


arrived in the canoe. We had suffered much from ex- 
posure to the sun, and from the fatigue of our tedious 
voyage ; we were, however, thankful to have reached 
our destination in safety. The natives cheerfully gave 
up a large oval-shaped house for our accommodation : 
Mr. and Mrs. Crook occupied one end of it, and we 
took up our abode in the other. The floor was of 
earth ; upon this we spread some clean white sand, 
which was covered over with plaited leaves of the 
cocoanut-tree. There were no partitions ; but by hang- 
ing up some mats and native cloth, we soon succeeded 
in partitioning off a comfortable bedroom, sitting-room, 
and store-room. Our kitchen was the open yard behind 
the dwelling; and its only fixtures were a couple of 
large stones placed in the ground, parallel to each other, 
and about six inches apart. This was our stove, or 
fireplace, and during the dry season answered tolerably 

With the study of the language, the erection of a 
printing-office and a dwelling-house now demanded my 
attention. A spot near the principal stream was se- 
lected for their site ; the inhabitants of the district 
undertook to build the printing-office ; while the king's 
people and the inhabitants of Maatea agreed to put up 
the frame of my dwelling-house. The acquisition of 
the language I commenced with Mr. Crook, and was 
happy to avail myself of the aid of Mr. Davies, who 
was well acquainted with it, and willing to render 
us every assistance which his other avocations would 

The natives of Afareaitu and the neighbouring dis- 
tricts were rejoiced at our coming among them ; they 
seemed a people predisposed to receive instruction. A 
spacious chapel was erected prior to our arrival, and a 
large school was subsequently built ; multitudes from 
other parts of the island took up their- abode in the 
settlement, the school was filled with scholars, and the 
chapel well attended. 

The indigenous productions of the island were abun- 
dant in the neighbourhood, and were comparatively 
cheap, as this part of the island had been but little 
visited by foreigners. When the flour and other foreign 
articles of provision which we had brought from Port 
Jackson were nearly expended, we subsisted almost 
entirely on native food; and though most of it was 


rather unsavoury at first, it afterward became tolerably 
palatable. Wheat is not grown in any of the islands ; 
it has often been tried, but either from the heat of the 
climate, the exceeding fertility of the soil, or the ab- 
sence of regular seasons, it has always failed. No 
other kind of grain, with the exception of a small quan- 
tity of maize, or Indian corn, is cultivated. Flour is 
consequently now only to be obtained from vessels 
visiting the islands. It is, however, frequently brought 
from New South Wales, and from South or North 
America, and a tolerably good supply may in general 
be obtained. 

From the enumeration already given of the articles 
of diet procurable among the islands, it will be evident 
that though neither wheat, oats, barley, pease and 
beans, nor other pulse and grain, are grown, yet the 
aborigines with a moderate degree of labour may obtain 
the necessaries, and many of what are by them esteemed 
the luxuries, of life. Their diet and modes of living 
are, however, still very different from those to which a 
European has been accustomed, and which he finds, 
even in their altered climate, most conducive to his 
health. In this respect the first missionaries endured 
far greater privations than those who have since joined 
them. They were often without tea and sugar, had 
no other animal food than that which they procured 
in common with the natives, and but seldom obtained 
flour. For some years after our arrival in the islands, 
the supply of this last article was very inadequate and 
uncertain ; we have been months at a time without 
tasting it, either in the form of bread or any other 
preparation. The supply now procured is, however, 
more regular, and the introduction of goats furnishing 
milk, and the flesh of the kid, the feeding of cattle, by 
which means the residents are able to make butter, and 
occasionally to kill an ox, has greatly improved their 



Erection of a printing-office— Increased demand for books— Establishment 
of the printing-press— Eager anticipations of the people— First printing in 
the island done by the king— Materials employed in binding native books - 
Printin" the Gospel of St. Luke— Liberal aid from the British and Foreign 
Bible Society— Influence of the process of printing, &c. on the minds of the 
people -Visit of a party of natives from the eastern archipelago— Distribu- 
tion of elementary books— Desire of the inhabitants for the Scriptures— 
Appl carts from different islands— Estimation in which the Scriptures are 
held— Influence of the press in the nation— Number of works printed. 

In a short time after our arrival at Afareaitu, the 
people began to erect the printing-office and the frame 
of our dwelling. According to the directions of the 
kino-, and the arrangements among themselves, the 
work was divided between several parties. The peo- 
ple of Afareaitu erected the printing-office ; and those 
of Maatea, a neighbouring district, my dwelling. The 
king wrote a letter to the chief of the district, hasten- 
ing him in the undertaking, and in a few weeks came 
over himself in order to encourage the parties engaged 
in the work, which advanced with celerity, and was 
in a short time completed. 

When the printing-office was finished, as the purau 
branches composing the walls afforded but an indifferent 
shelter from the rain and wind, the sides of the printing- 
office were boarded, and one or two glass windows 
introduced ; probably the first ever seen in Eimeo. The 
floor was covered partly with the trunks of trees split 
in two, and partly paved with stone. In searching for 
suitable stones, we pulled down the remaining ruins 
of one or two maraes in the neighbourhood, and finding 
among them a number of smooth and level-surfaced 
basaltic stones, we were happy to remove them from 
the temple, and fix them in the pavement of the print- 
ing-office floor ; thus appropriating them to a purpose 
very different indeed from that for which they were 
primarily designed, by those who had evidently pre- 
pared them with considerable labour and care. 

Numbers of the inhabitants of several parts of Ta- 
hiti and Eimeo flocked to Afareoitu to attend the means 


of instruction, and the public ordinances of religion, as 
it was more convenient to many than Papetoai. They 
were also anxious to see this wonderful machine, the 
printing-press, in operation, having heard much of the 
facility with which, when once it should be established, 
they would be supplied with articles at that time more 
valuable in their estimation than any other. 

A few copies of the spelling-book printed in England 
had been taken to the island in 1811. Some hundred 
copies of a smaller spelling-book, and a brief summary 
of the Old and New Testament, the latter containing 
about seventy-five 12mo pages, had been printed at 
Port Jackson, and were in circulation ; but many hun- 
dreds of the natives who had learned to read were still 
destitute of a book. Others could repeat correctly, 
from memory, the whole of the books, and were anxious 
for fresh ones. In many families, where all were 
scholars, there was but one book ; while others were 
totally destitute. The inhabitants of the neighbouring 
islands were in still greater need. I have seen many 
who had written out the whole of the spelling-book on 
sheets of writing-paper ; and others who, unable to 
procure paper, had prepared pieces of native cloth with 
great care, and then with a reed immersed in red or 
purple native die, had written out the alphabet, spelling 
and reading lessons, on these pieces of cloth, made 
with the bark of a tree. It was also truly affecting to 
see so many of them, not with phylacteries, but with 
portions of Scripture, or the texts they had heard 
preached from, written on scraps of paper, or fragments 
of cloth, preserved with care, and read till fixed in the 
memory of their possessors. This state of affairs, 
together with the earnest desire of the people to in- 
crease their knowledge of sacred truth, rendered it 
desirable that the press should be set to work as soon 
as possible. Within three months after our arrival at 
Afareaitu, every thing was in readiness, and, on the 
10th of June, 1817, the operations preparatory to print- 
ing were commenced. 

Pomare, who was exceedingly delighted when he 
heard of its arrival, and had furnished every assistance 
in his power, both in the erection of the building and 
the removal of the press, types, &c. from Papetoai, 
where they had been landed, was not less anxious to 
see it actually at work. He had for this purpose visited 


Afareaitu, and, on his return to the other side of the 
island, requested that he might be sent for whenever 
we should begin. A letter having been forwarded to 
inform him that we were nearly ready, he hastened 
to our settlement, and, in the afternoon of the day 
appointed, came to the printing-office, accompanied by 
a few favourite chiefs, and followed by a large con- 
course of people. 

Soon after his arrival, I took the composing-stick in 
my hand, and observing Pomare looking with curious 
delight at the new and shining types, I asked him if he 
would like to put together the first A B, or alphabet. 
His countenance was lighted up with evident satisfac- 
tion as he answered in the affirmative. I then placed 
the composing-stick in his hand ; he took the capital 
letters one by one out of their respective compart- 
ments, and fixing them, concluded the alphabet. He 
put together the small letters in the same manner ; and 
the few monosyllables composing the first page of the 
small spelling-book were afterward added. He was 
delighted when he saw the first page complete, and 
appeared desirous to have it struck off at once ; but 
when informed that it would not be printed till as many 
were composed as would fill a sheet, he requested that 
he might be sent for whenever it was ready. He 
visited us almost daily until the 30th, when, having 
received intimation that it was ready for the press, he 
came attended by only two of his favourite chiefs. 
They were, however, followed by a numerous train of 
his attendants, &c, who had by some means heard that 
the work was about to commence. Crowds of the 
natives were already collected around the door, but 
they made way for him, and after he and his two com- 
panions had been admitted, the door was closed, and 
the small window next the sea darkened, as he did not 
wish to be overlooked by the people on the outside. 
The king examined with great minuteness and plea- 
sure the form as it lay on the press, and prepared to 
try to take off the first sheet ever printed in his domin- 
ions. Having been told how it was to be done, he 
jocosely charged his companions not to look very par- 
ticularly at him, and not to laugh if he should not do 
it right. I put the printer's ink-ball into his hand, and 
directed him to strike it two or three times upon the 
face of the letters ; this he did, and then placing a sheet 


of clean paper upon the parchment, it was covered 
down, turned under the press, and the king was directed 
to pull the handle. He did so, and when the paper 
was removed from beneath the press, and the covering 
lifted up, the chiefs and assistants rushed towards it, 
to see what effect the king's pressure had produced. 
"When they beheld the letters black, and large, and well 
defined, there was one simultaneous expression of won- 
der and delight. 

The king took up the sheet, and having looked first 
at the paper and then at the types with attentive ad- 
miration, handed it to one of his chiefs, and expressed 
a wish to take another. He printed two more ; and 
while he was so engaged, the first sheet was shown to 
the crowd without, who, when they saw it, raised one 
general shout of astonishment and joy. When the 
king had printed three or four sheets, he examined the 
press in all its parts with great attention. On being 
asked what he thought of it, he said it was very sur- 
prising ; but that he had supposed, notwithstanding all 
the descriptions which had been given of its operation, 
that the paper was laid down, and the letters by some 
means pressed upon it, instead of the paper being 
pressed upon the types. He remained attentively 
watching the press, and admiring the facility with which 
by its mechanism, so many pages were printed at one 
time, until it was near sunset, when he left us, taking 
with him the sheets he had printed, to his encampment 
on the opposite side of the bay. 

When the benefits which the Tahitians have already 
derived from education and the circulation of books 
are considered, with the increasing advantages which 
it is presumed future generations will derive from the 
establishment of the press, we cannot but view the 
introduction of printing as an auspicious event. The 
30th June, 1817, was, on this account, an important 
day in the annals of Tahiti ; and there is no act of 
Pomare's life, excepting his abolition of idolatry, his 
clemency after the battle of Bunaau'ia, and his devoted- 
ness in visiting every district in the island, inducing 
the chiefs and people to embrace Christianity, that will 
be remembered with more grateful feeling than the 
circumstance of his printing the first page of the first 
book published in the South Sea islands. 

The spelling-book, being most needed, was first put 


to press, and an edition of 2600 copies soon finished. 
The king with his attendants passed by the printing- 
office every afternoon, on their way to his favourite 
bathing-place, and seldom omitted to call and spend 
some time in watching the progress of the work. He 
engaged in counting several of the letters, and appeared 
surprised when he found that in sixteen pages of the 
spelling-book, there were upwards of five thousand of 
the letter a. An edition of 2300 copies of the Tahitian 
Catechism, and a Collection of Texts, or Extracts 
from Scripture, were next printed ; after which St. 
Luke's Gospel, which had been translated by Mr. Nott, 
was put to press. 

While the spelling-book was in hand Mr. and Mrs. 
Orsmond arrived in the islands, and took up their resi- 
dence at Afareaitu ; increasing thereby the enjoyment 
of our social hours. 

The first sheet of St. Luke's Gospel was nearly 
printed, when the Active, with six missionaries from 
England, arrived. Among them were our fellow-voy- 
agers Mr. and Mrs. Threlkeld, and our esteemed friends 
Mr. and Mrs. Barft" ; we had parted with them in Eng- 
land, and were truly rejoiced to welcome them to the 
distant shores of our future dwelling-place. By the 
same vessel a supply of printing-paper was sent from 
the British and Foreign Bible Society. Its arrival was 
most providential. The paper sent by the Missionary 
Society was only sufficient, after the elementary books 
had been finished, to enable us to print 1500 copies of 
the Gospel ; but the arrival of the liberal grant from 
the Bible Society enabled us at once to double the 
number of copies. Although the demand has increased, 
and larger editions of the subsequent books have been 
necessary, the British and Foreign Bible Society has 
generously furnished the paper for every subsequent 
portion of the Scriptures that has been printed in the 

The composition and press-work of the elementary 
books, and of the greater portion of the edition of 
nearly 3000 copies of St. Luke's Gospel, was performed 
almost entirely by Mr. Crook and myself. In the 
mean time two natives were instructed to perform the 
most laborious parts ; and before the books were fin- 
ished, they were able, under proper superintendence, 
to relieve us from the mechanical labour of press-work, 

Vol. II.— H 


— a department in which they with others have been 
ever since employed ; receiving regular payment for 
the same. In all works subsequently published the 
missionaries, on whom the management of printing 
has devolved, have been in a great measure relieved 
by the aid of those instructed in that department of 
this useful art. 

We laboured eight, and sometimes ten hours daily, 
yet found that the work advanced but slowly. Notwith- 
standing all the care that had been exercised in selecting 
the printing materials and the accompanying apparatus, 
many things were either deficient or spoiled ; here we 
could procure no proper supply, and the edition was not 
completed until the beginning of 1818. It was entitled, 
" Te Evanelia na Luka,iritihia eiparau Tahiti,'" literally, 
The Gospel of Luke, taken out to be, or transferred to, 
the language of Tahiti ; E-parau hae-rehia te parau maitai 
o te haunei e ati paatoai te ao nei ia ite te mau fenua atoa 
was the motto. " This good word (or gospel) of the 
kingdom shall be published in all the world," Matt. xxiv. 
14 ; and the imprint was, Neneihia i te nenei raa parau a 
te mau mistonari, 1818. Pressed at the (paper or book) 
presser of the missionaries.— There being no term in 
the native language answering to the word translated 
Gospel, the Greek word Euangelion was introduced, some 
of the consonants being omitted in conforming it to the 
native idiom. 

The curiosity awakened in the inhabitants of Afare- 
aitu by the establishment of the press was not soon 
satisfied : day after day Pomare visited the printing- 
office ; the chiefs applied to be admitted inside, while 
the people thronged the windows, doors, and every 
crevice through which they could peep, often involunta- 
rily exclaiming, Be-ri-ta-m-e ! fenua paari ; O Britain! 
land of skill, or knowledge. The press soon became 
a matter of universal conversation : and the facility with 
which books could be multiplied filled the minds of the 
people in general with wonderful delight. Multitudes 
arrived from every district of Eimeo, and even from 
other islands, to procure books, and to see this astonish- 
ing machine. The excitement manifested frequently 
resembled that with which the people of England would 
hasten to witness for the first time the ascent of a bal- 
loon, or the movement of a steam-carriage. So great 
was the influx of strangers, that for several weeks before 


the first portion of the Scriptures was finished the dis- 
trict of Afareaitu resembled a public fair. The beach 
was lined with canoes from distant parts of Eimeo and 
other islands ; the houses of the inhabitants were 
thronged, and small parties had erected their temporary 
encampments in every direction. The school during 
the week, and chapel on the Sabbath, though capable of 
containing six hundred persons, were found too small 
for those who sought admittance. The printing-office 
was daily crowded by the strangers, who thronged the 
doors, &c. in such numbers as to climb upon each 
other's backs, or on the sides of the windows, so as fre- 
quently to darken the place. The house had been en- 
closed with a fence five or six feet high ; but this, instead 
of presenting an obstacle to the gratification of their 
curiosity, was converted into the means of facilitating 
it : numbers were constantly seen sitting on the top of 
the railing, whereby they were able to look over the 
heads of their companions who were round the windows. 
Among the various parties in Afareaitu at this time 
were a number of the natives of the Paumotu, or Pearl 
Islands, which lie to the north-east of Tahiti, and consti- 
tute what is called the Dangerous Archipelago. These 
numerous islands, like those of Tetuaroa to the north, 
are of coralline formation, and the most elevated parts 
of many of them are seldom more than two or three 
feet above high-water mark. The principal and almost 
only edible vegetable they produce is the fruit of the 
cocoanut-tree : on these, with the numerous kinds of 
fish resorting to their shores, or found among the coral 
reefs, the inhabitants entirely subsist. They appear a 
hardy and industrious race, capable of enduring great 
privations. The Tahitians believe them to be canni- 
bals ; but as to the evidence or extent of this charge we 
cannot speak confidently. They are in general firm and 
muscular, but of a more spare habit of body than the 
Tahitians. Their limbs are well formed, their stature 
generally tall. The expression of their countenance 
and the outline of their features greatly resemble those 
of the Society islanders ; their manners are, however, 
more rude and uncourteous. The greater part of the 
body is tattooed, sometimes in broad stripes, or large 
masses of black, and always without any of the taste 
and elegance frequently exhibited in the figures marked 
on the persons of the Tahitians. By the latter the 


natives of the Pearl Islands were formerly regarded 
with the greatest contempt, as laehae and maua, savages 
and barbarians. It was some months since they had 
arrived from their native islands, which they had left for 
the purpose of procuring books and teachers for their 
countrymen. From the time of their landing Pomare 
had taken them under his protection ; and when he came 
over to Eimeo they followed in his train. 

A considerable party of the Aura tribe came one day 
to the printing-office to see the press. When they were 
admitted, and beheld the native printer at work, their 
astonishment was great. It was some time before they 
would approach very near, and they appeared at a loss 
whether to consider the press as an animal or a machine. 
As their language is strikingly analogous to that spoken 
in the Society Islands, I entered into conversation with 
them. They were very urgent to be supplied with 
gpelling-books, which 1 regretted my inability to effect 
to any extent, as our edition was nearly expended. 
Learning that they had discontinued idol-worship, I 
asked why they had abandoned their gods. They re- 
plied that they were evil spirits, and had never done 
them any good, but had caused frequent and desolating 
wars. Moorea,* they said, was their teacher, and had 
instructed them concerning the true God, for whose 
worship in the island of Anaa,f whence most of them 
came, they had already erected three chapels. 

But little time was allowed for the drying of the 
printed sheets. The natives were in want of books, and 
most eager for them : the first inquiry of every party 
that arrived usually was, "When will the books be 
ready V The presses were therefore fixed, and, having 
acquired some knowledge of book-binding as well as 
printing before leaving England, 1 proceeded, as soon 
as the printing was finished, to binding, though but in- 
adequately furnished with materials. 

The first bound copy was sent to Papetoai, and is 
still, I believe, in Mr. Nott's possession ; the second, 
half-bound in red morocco, was presented to the king, 
who received it with high satisfaction. The queen and 
chiefs were next supplied, and preparations made for 
meeting the demands of the people. In order to pre- 

* He had been a professor of Christianity, and a pupil in the mission school, 
sometime before our arrival, 
t Prince of Wales's Island. 


serve the books, it was deemed inexpedient to give 
them into the hands of the natives, either unbound or 
merely covered as pamphlets. We had only a small 
quantity of mill-boards, and it was necessary to increase 
them on the spot ; a large quantity of native cloth, 
made of the bark of a tree, was therefore purchased, 
and females employed to beat a number of layers or 
folds together, usually from seven to ten. These were 
afterward submitted to the action of a powerful screw- 
press, and, when gradually dried, formed a good stiff 
pasteboard. For their binding, the few sheep-skins 
brought from England were cut into slips for the backs 
and corners, and a large bundle of old newspapers died 
for covers to the sides. In staining these papers, they 
were covered over with the juice of the stems of the 
mountain- plantain, or fei. The young plants brought 
from the mountains were generally two or three inches 
in diameter at the lower end. The root was cut off 
above the part that had been in the ground, and the stem 
being then fixed over a vessel, half a pint sometimes of 
thick purple juice exuded from it. This was immedi- 
ately spread upon the paper, imparting to the sheet, 
when dried in the sun, a rich glossy purple colour, which 
remained as long as the paper lasted. If lime-juice was 
sprinkled upon it, a beautiful and delicate pink was pro- 
duced. When the juice of the fei was allowed to remain 
till the next day, the liquor became much thinner, as<- 
sumed a brownish red tinge, and imparted only a slight 
colour to the paper. 

The process of binding appeared to the natives much 
more simple than that of printing ; yet, in addition to 
those whom we were endeavouring to instruct, each of 
the principal chiefs sent one of his most clever men to 
learn how to put a book together. For some time we 
bound every book that was given to the natives ; but 
our materials being expended long before they were 
supplied, and the people continuing impatient for the 
books, even in sheets — rather than keep them destitute 
of the Scripture already printed, they were thus dis- 

Those among the natives who had learned to bind 
were now overwhelmed with business, and derived no 
inconsiderable emolument from their trade, as they re- 
quired each person to bring the pasteboard necessary 
for his own books, and also a piece of skin or leather 


for the back, or for the whole cover. Many soon learned 
to sew the sheets together, others cut pieces of wood 
very thin, instead of pasteboard, which were fastened 
to the sides ; the edges of the leaves were then cut with 
a knife, and the book used in this state daily, while the 
owner was searching for a skin or a piece of leather, 
with which to cover it for more effectual preservation. 
This was the most difficult article to procure, and many 
books were used without it for many months. 

Leather was now the article in greatest requisition 
among all classes ; and the poor animals that had here- 
tofore lived in undisturbed ease and freedom were 
hunted solely for their skins. The printing-office was 
converted into a tanyard ; old canoes, filled with lime- 
water, were prepared ; and all kinds of skins brought 
to have the hair extracted, and the oily matters dissi- 
pated. It was quite amusing to see goats', dogs', and 
cats' skins collected to be prepared for book-covers. 
Sometimes they procured the tough skin of a large dog, 
or an old goat, with long shaggy matted hair and beard 
attached to it, or the thin skin of a wild kitten taken in 
the mountains. As soon as the natives had seen how 
they were prepared, which was simply by extracting 
the hair and the oil, they did this at their own houses ; 
and, in walking through the district at this period, no 
object was more common than a skin stretched on a 
frame, and suspended on the branch of a tree to dry in 
the sun. 

All the books hitherto in circulation among the people 
had been gratuitously distributed ; but when the first 
portion of Scripture was finished, as it was a larger 
book than had yet been published, it was thought best 
to require a small equivalent for it, lest the people should 
expect that books afterward printed would be given 
also, and lest, from the circumstance of their receiving 
them without payment, they should be induced to un- 
dervalue them. A small quantity of cocoanut-oil, the 
article they could most easily procure, was therefore 
demanded for each book, and cheerfully paid by every 
native. This was not done with a view of deriving any 
profit from the sale of the books, but merely to teach 
the people their value ; as no higher price was required 
than what it was supposed would cover the expense of 
paper and printing materials, — and we still continued to 
distribute elementary books gratuitously. 


The season occupied in the printing and binding of 
these books was one of incessant labour, which, in a 
tropical climate, and at a season when the sun was 
vertical, was often found exceedingly oppressive ; yet 
it was one of the happiest periods of my life. It was 
cheering to behold the people so prepared to receive 
the sacred volume, and anxious to possess it. I have 
frequently seen thirty or forty canoes from distant parts 
of Eimeo, or from some other island, lying along the 
beach, in each of which five or six persons had arrived, 
whose only errand was to procure copies of the Scrip- 
tures. For these many waited five or six weeks, while 
they were printing. Sometimes 1 have seen a canoe 
arrive with six or ten persons for books ; who, when 
they have landed, have brought a large bundle of letters, 
perhaps thirty or forty, written on plantain leaves, and 
rolled up like a scroll. These letters had been written 
by individuals who were unable to come and apply per- 
sonally for a book, and had therefore thus sent, in order 
to procure a copy. Often, when standing at my door, 
which was but a short distance from the sea-beach, as I 
have gazed on the varied beauties of the rich and glow- 
ing landscape, and the truly picturesque appearance of 
the island of Tahiti, fourteen or eighteen miles distant, 
the scene has been enlivened by the light and nautilus- 
like sail of the buoyant canoe, first seen in the distant 
horizon as a small white speck, sometimes scarcely 
distinguishable from the crest of the waters, at others 
brilliantly reflecting the last rays of the retiring sun, 
and appearing in bold and beautiful relief before 

" The impassioned splendour of those clouds 
That wait upon the sun at his departure." 

The effect of this magnificent scene has often been 
heightened by the impression that the voyagers, whose 
approaching bark became every moment more conspicu- 
ous among the surrounding objects, were not coming 
in search of pearls or gems, but the more valuable 
treasure contained in the sacred Scriptures, deemed by 
them " more precious than gold, yea, than much fine 
gold." One evening, about sunset, a canoe from Tahiti 
with five men arrived on this errand. They landed on 
the beach, lowered their sail, and, drawing their canoes 
on the sand, hastened to my dwelling. I met them at 


the door, and asked them their errand. Luka, or Te 
Parau na Luka, " Luke, or The Word of Luke," was the 
simultaneous reply, accompanied with the exhibition of 
the bamboo-canes filled with cocoanut-oil, which they 
held up in their hands, and had brought as payment for 
the copies required. I told them 1 had none ready that 
night, but that if they would come on the morrow I 
would give them as many as they needed ; recommend- 
ing them, in the mean time, to go and lodge with some 
friend in the village. Twilight in the tropics is always 
short — it soon grew dark ; I wished them good night, 
and afterward retired to rest, supposing they had gone 
to sleep at the house of some friend ; but, on looking 
out of my window about daybreak, I saw these five men 
lying along on the ground on the outside of my house, 
their only bed being some plaited cocoanut-leaves, and 
their only covering the large native cloth they usually 
wear over their shoulders. I hastened out, and asked 
them if they had been there all night : they said they 
had ; I then inquired why they did not, as I had directed 
them, go and lodge at some house, and come again. 
Their answer surprised and delighted me : they said, 
"We were afraid that, had we gone away, some one 
might have come before us this morning, and have taken 
what books you had to spare, and then we should have 
been obliged to return without any ; therefore, after you 
left us last night, we determined not to go away till we 
had procured the books." I called them into the print- 
ing-office, and, as soon as I could put the sheets to- 
gether, gave them each a copy : they then requested 
two copies more, one for a mother, the other for a 
sister, for which they had brought payment. I gave 
these also. Each wrapped his book up in a piece of 
white native cloth, put it in his bosom, wished me good 
morning, and without, I believe, eating or drinking, or 
calling on any person in the settlement, hastened to the 
beach, launched their canoe, hoisted their matting sail, 
and steered rejoicing to their native island. This is 
only one instance among many that occurred at the 
time, both at Afareaitu and Papetoai, exhibiting the 
ardent desire of the people in general to possess the 
Scriptures as soon as they could be prepared for them. 
They frequently expressed their apprehensions lest the 
number of the books should not be sufficient for those 
who were waiting, and have more than once told us 


that the fear of being disappointed has often deprived 
them of sleep. 

Many were doubtless influenced by motives of curi- 
osity, others by a desire to possess an article of property 
now so highly esteemed by all parties, but many were 
certainly influenced by a desire to become more fully 
acquainted with the revelation God had made to man, 
and to read for themselves, in their own language, those 
truths that were able to make them " wise unto salva- 
tion." By some, after the first emotion of curiosity had 
subsided, the books were neglected ; but by most they 
were carefully and regularly read, becoming at once the 
constant companion of their possessors, and the source 
of their highest enjoyment. 

When the Gospel of Luke was finished, an edition of 
hymns in the native language was printed, partly original 
and partly translations from our most approved English 
compositions ; and although the book was but small, it 
was acceptable to the people, who are exceedingly fond 
of metrical compositions, their history and traditions 
having been preserved in a metrical kind of ballad. 
This circumstance rendered the hymn-book, which was 
completed at Huahine, quite a favourite, and afforded 
the means, not only of assisting them in the matter of 
their praises to Almighty God, but enabled us to convey 
the most important truths of revelation in the manner 
most attractive and familiar to the native mind. 

While engaged in these labours, the principal object 
besides that occupied our attention was the study uf 
the language. Several hours every day were devoted 
to its acquisition, and twice a week we met, when we 
were assisted by the instructions of Mr. Davies, who 
favoured us with the use of his manuscript vocabulary, 
and the outlines of a grammar which he had prepared 
several years before. In addition to these means, I 
found the composing or setting of the types for the 
Tahitian books the best method of acquiring all that 
was printed in the language. Every letter in every 
word passing repeatedly not only under my eye, but 
through my hand, I acquired almost mechanically the 
orthography. The number of natives by whom we were 
always surrounded afforded the best opportunities for 
learning the meaning of those words which we did not 
understand. The structure of many sentences was also 
acquired by the same means; and in much less than 


twelve months I could converse familiarly on any com- 
mon subject. My acquisition of the language was thus 
facilitated by attention to printing in the native tongue. 

The use of the press in the different islands we natu- 
rally regard as one of the most powerful human agencies 
that can be employed in forming the mental and moral 
character of the inhabitants, imparting to their pursuits 
a salutary direction, and promoting knowledge, virtue, 
and happiness. It is not easy to estimate correctly the 
advantages already derived from this important engine 
of improvement. The sacred Scriptures and the codes 
of laws are the only standard works of importance yet 
printed. The whole of the New and detached portions 
of the Old Testament have been finished, and the re- 
maining parts are in progress. 

In the native language they also possess Old and New 
Testament histories — several large editions of spelling- 
books, reading lessons, and different catechisms — a short 
system of arithmetic — the codes of laws for the differ- 
ent islands — regulations for barter, and their intercourse 
with shipping. Numerous addresses on the subject of 
Christian practice — several editions of the native hymn- 
book — the reports of their different societies — and, lastly, 
they have commenced a periodical publication called 
tile Repository. I have received the first number, and 
most earnestly hope they will be able to carry it on. 
Every work yet printed has been prepared by the mis- 
sionaries, with the assistance of the most intelligent 
among the people. But we look forward, with pleasing 
anticipation, to the time when the natives themselves 
shall become writers. In the investigation and illustra- 
tion of many things connected with the peculiar genius 
and character of their own countrymen, they will have 
advantages which no individual who is a foreigner can 
everpossess ; and we may hope that the time is not far 
distant when they will not only have standard works by 
native authors, but that their periodical literature will 
circulate widely, and spread knowledge and piety among 
all classes of the people. 



Arrival of missionaries from England — Building and launchins of the Haweis 
— Reoccupation of Matavai — New stations in Tahiti — Journeys across the 
interior of Eimeo — Village of Tamai — Retrospect of labour at Afareaitu — 
Honesty of the people— Departure from Eimeo — Voyage to the Society 
Islands— Appearance of Iluahine — Fa-re harbour and surrounding country 
— Accommodations on shore -State of (he inhabitants of Huahine — Com- 
mencement of missionary labours — Influence of presents on the people. 

About a month after our departure from Papetoai, Mr. 
Orsmond, who had sailed from England about July, 
1816, arrived at Eimeo, and after residing some time 
with the missionaries at Papetoai, he removed to 
Afareaitu, pursued harmoniously with us the study of 
the language, assisted in preparing books for the people, 
and in other duties of the station, and subsequently 
accompanied us to the leeward islands. On the 17lh 
of November, in the same year, Messrs. Bourne, Darling, 
Piatt, and Williams, with their wives, who had sailed 
from England 17th of November, 1816, reached the 
islands. Mr. and Mrs. Threlkeld, who had sailed with 
us from England, but had been obliged by domestic 
affliction to remain at Rio Janeiro, and Mr. and Mrs. 
liarff, who had originally left England with Mr. Ors- 
mond, joined us by the same conveyance. This event 
was truly cheering to their predecessors, as it conveyed 
the strongest evidence of the desire, on the part of the 
society at home, to relieve them from every distressing 
anxiety as to their successors, and to afford every aid 
in the prosecution of their important and extending 
work. To us it was a matter of gratitude and satisfac- 
tion. With some who had now arrived we had parted 
nearly two years' before in our native land; others we 
had left among strangers on a foreign shore ; but we 
were now, in the providence of God, brought together 
under circumstances peculiarly encouraging ; and not 
only permitted to enjoy each other's society, but to 
combine our energies for the advancement of that cause 
to which our lives were devoted. 

The arrival of so large a reinforcement enabled the 
missionaries to make arrangements for reoccupying 


their original station in Tahiti, and establishing a mis- 
sion in the society, or, as they are usually termed when 
spoken of in connexion with Tahiti and Eimeo, the 
leeward islands. It was, however, thought desirable 
that no division of their numbers should take place until 
the vessel, the building of which had been commenced 
soon after the return from Port Jackson, should be fin- 
ished, and the works prepared for the press were 

The vessel, in the building of which the missionaries 
were engaged when we arrived, had been undertaken 
jointly by them and the king, at the recommendation 
of the governor of New South Wales, and of the Rev. 
S. Marsden. The king proposed to find materials, and 
the missionaries labour. By this means it was hoped 
they might be enabled to instil into the minds of the 
natives a spirit of enterprise, and induce them to build 
ships for themselves. It was intended to employ the 
vessel in the pearl-fishery, among the Paumotu Islands, 
to the eastward ; to work her with native seamen ; to 
take the pearls and mother-of-pearl shell to Port Jack- 
son ; bringing from that settlement tools, cutlery, and 
manufactured goods for the natives, and supplies for the 
mission; thus providing a means of stimulating the 
people to habits of industry, and defraying to a certain 
degree the expenses of the mission. Such were the 
views with which the vessel was commenced ; but cir- 
cumstances had arisen since that time which left but 
little hope that these ends would ever be answered. 
The work was, however, already so far advanced, that 
all parties were unwilling to abandon it. 

The vessel was about seventy tons burden, and the 
hull nearly completed. The missionaries who had 
arrived undertook to finish what their predecessors had 
commenced ; and although it was an undertaking of 
great labour, it was ready to be launched in a few weeks 
after they had landed. 

The 7th of December, 1817, being the day fixed for 
the launch, crowds of the inhabitants assembled to wit- 
ness the spectacle : when the preparations were com- 
pleted, the wedges were removed ; but as the vessel did 
not move, strong ropes were passed round her stern, 
and a number of the islanders on each side began pulling 
her towards the water. Pomare was present, and 
exerted all his influence to stimulate the natives em- 


ployed in launching the ship. One of the king's orators, 
a short, plump, round-faced man, about fifty years of age, 
was perched upon a projecting rock by the seaside, 
vociferating one of their ude, or songs, on the launching 
of their own large canoes, suiting the action to the word, 
and using at times the most violent gesticulations, as if 
he imagined his own muscular powers alone were to 
move the vessel. They have a number of these kinds 
of songs, some of considerable length, which 1 have at 
different times written down. They were designed to 
stimulate the men who were drawing the canoes into 
the water. 

The natives employed in this work generally laid 
down on the beach short logs of the cylindrical trunk 
of the cocoanut-tree, and drew the canoes over these 
natural rollers into the sea. Some of these songs were 
very short, as Iriti i mua, iriti i muri, e to, e to tau vaa ie — 
Lift up the stem, lift up the stern, and pull, and pull my 
strong canoe. The song employed on the present oc- 
casion appeared rather a long one : I tried to compre- 
hend its import, but, notwithstanding all the vocifera- 
tion of the orator, it was recited with such rapidity, and 
there was so much din and clamour among the people, 
who on such occasions only put forth their strength in 
proportion to the noise which they make, that I could 
only now and then distinguish the word pahi, a large 
canoe or ship. Had I been able to hear more distinctly, 
it is probable that at that time I should not have under- 
stood the bard, as many words not in common use are 
found in their songs. 

At length the vessel moved towards the sea, amid the 
shouts of the assembled multitudes. Before, however, 
she fairly floated, an accident occurred, which threw a 
damp over the spirits of all present. As she glided 
smoothly along towards the water, Pomare, who had 
stationed himself by the seaside for the purpose, gave 
the vessel her name by throwing a bottle of wine at her, 
and exclaiming, la ora na oe e Haweis — Prosperity to 
you, O Haweis. It having been agreed to designate the 
first vessel of any size built in the islands the Haweis, 
in honour of the late Dr. Haweis, who was the steady 
friend of the South Sea mission, and in some respects 
may be said to have been its founder. 

The circumstance of the king's throwing the wine at 
the ship, the breaking of the bottle, the red wine spread- 


ing abroad, and the pieces of glass flying in every direc- 
tion, startled the natives who were pulling the ropes on 
that side of the vessel. They immediately left hold of 
the ropes, and stood gazing in astonishment alternately 
at the king and the place against which the bottle had 
been thrown. Those on the opposite side continued 
pulling with all their might, and soon drew the vessel 
on one side till she fell. One simultaneous cry, Aue te 
pahi e — Alas, the ship ! or, Oh, the ship ! — resounded in 
every direction, and the king seemed to think she would 
never be launched. With great effort she was replaced, 
during the same afternoon, in an upright position, and 
subsequently launched upon the bosom of the Pacific, 
amid the exulting shouts of the multitudes who thronged 
the shores. 

The Haweis was afterward rigged, and employed in 
conveying the missionary families to their respective 
stations ; after which she made one or two very profit- 
less voyages to New South Wales. On account of the 
heavy expenses attending every voyage, although it was 
of great importance to maintain a regular intercourse 
between the respective stations, and between the islands 
and the colony, it was found necessary to dispose of 
the ship, which had been built with so much cost and 
labour ; she was sold in New South Wales, and is now 
employed in trading between Port Jackson and Van 
Dieman's Land. 

Although finishing the vessel and printing required 
the greater number of the missionaries to continue in 
Eimeo, these duties did not detain the whole, but left 
several at liberty to extend in some degree their efforts. 
Matavai, the original missionary station, was the first 
that was reoccupied. Mr. Wilson, one of the mission- 
aries who first landed from the Royal Admiral in 1801, 
resumed his labours here in the early part of 1818, within 
a quarter of a mile of the spot from which he had been 
obliged to fly when the mission was broken up in the 
close of the year 1809, and not far from the place where 
Mr. Lewis was murdered. 

Mr. Bicknell, accompanied by Mr. Tessier, formed a 
station under the auspices of Tati, in the populous dis- 
trict of Papara. A new station was also commenced 
by Mr. Crook and Mr. Bourne at Papaoa, in the district 
of Faa; and when the Haweis was finished, Mr. Darling 
joined Mr. Wilson at Matavai. At the urgent request 


of Utami, the chief of the populous district of Atehuru, 
he subsequently commenced a mission among his people 
at Bunaau'ia, or Burder's Point, whither Mr. Bourne also 

The two stations at Eimeo being on opposite sides 
of the island, occasioned us frequent journeys from 
Afareaitu to Papetoai. These excursions, although 
they gave us an opportunity of examining more exten- 
sively the aspect of the country and the state of its in- 
habitants, often proved fatiguing. Sometimes we walked 
along the beach to Papeare, several miles to the north 
of our abode — ascended a low ridge of mountains, ex- 
tending nearly to the sea — crossed the elevated eastern 
range — and continuing our way through the defiles and 
ravines of the interior mountains, descended on the 
opposite side of the island, and approached the shore 
near the inland boundary of Opunohu bay. At other 
times we travelled round in the neighbourhood of the 
shore, alternately walking on the beach, or, proceeding 
in a light canoe, paddled along the shallow water near 
the shore. Occasionally we passed through the inland 
village of Tamae ; and although whenever we took this 
route we had to walk three-quarters of a mile along the 
margin of the lake, up to our knees in water, yet we 
have always been amply repaid by beholding the neat- 
ness of the gardens and the sequestered peace of the 
village, by experiencing the generous hospitality, and 
receiving unequivocal proofs of the simple piety, of its 
inhabitants. Once or twice, when approaching Tamae, 
about sunrise, we have met the natives returning from 
the bushes, whither by the break of day they had re- 
tired for meditation and secret prayer. Their counte- 
nances beamed with peace and delight ; and Ia ora oe ia 
lesu, Ia ora oe i te Atua — Peace to you from Jesus, bless- 
ing on you from God — was the general strain of their 

More than once we had to take our little boy, even 
before he was three months old, from Afareaitu, where 
he was born, to Papetoai, for medical advice. 

These journeys were exceedingly wearisome : return- 
ing from one of them, night overtook us many miles 
before we reached our home ; we travelled part of the 
way in a single canoe, but for several miles, where there 
was no passage between the reef and the shore, and the 
fragile bark was exposed without shelter to the long 


heavy billows of the Pacific, we proceeded along the 
beach, while the natives rowed the canoe upon the open 
sea. Two native female attendants alternately carried 
the child, while Mrs. Ellis and I walked on the shore, 
occasionally climbing over the rocks, or sinking up to 
our ankles in fragments of coral and sand. Wearied 
with our walk, we were obliged to rest before we reached 
the place where we expected to embark again. Mrs. 
Ellis, unable to walk any farther, sat down upon a rock 
of coral, and gave our infant the breast, while I hailed 
the natives, and directed them to bring the canoe over 
the reef and take us on board. Happily for us, the 
evening was fair, the moon shone brightly, and her mild 
beams, silvering the foliage of the shrubs that grew near 
the shore, and playing on the rippled and undulating 
wave of the ocean, added a charm to the singularity of 
the prospect, and enlivened the loneliness of our situa- 
tion. The scene was unusually impressive. I remem- 
ber distinctly my feelings as I stood, wearied with my 
walk, leaning on a light staff by the side of the rock on 
which Mrs. Ellis with our infant was sitting, and behind 
which our female attendants stood. On one side the 
mountains of the interior, having their outline edged, as 
it were, with silver, from the rays of the moon, rose in 
lofty magnificence, while the indistinct form, rich and 
diversified verdure, of the shrubs and trees, increased 
the effect of the scene. On the other hand was the 
illimitable sea, rolling in solemn majesty its swelling 
waves over the rocks which defended the spot on which 
we stood. The most profound silence prevailed, and 
we might have fancied that we were the only beings in 
existence, for no sound was heard, excepting the gentle 
rustling of the leaves of the cocoanut-tree, as the light 
breeze from the mountain swept through them, or the 
hollow roar of the surf, and the rolling of the foaming 
wave as it broke over the distant reef, and the splash- 
ing of the paddle of our canoe as it approached the 
shore. It was impossible, at such a season, to behold 
this scene, exhibiting impressively the grandeur of crea- 
tion and the insignificance of man, without experiencing 
emotions of adoring wonder and elevated devotion, and 
exclaiming with the Psalmist, " When I consider thy 
heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the 
stars which thou hast ordained — what is man, that thou 


art mindful of him, and the son of man, that thouvisitest 

The canoe at length reached the shore ; we seated 
ourselves in its stern, and advancing pleasantly along 
for seven or eight miles, reached our habitation about 

As soon as the printing was finished, we prepared to 
remove to the island of Huahine, the most windward 
of the group properly called the Society Islands. 

The king and many of the chiefs of Tahiti and Eimeo 
appeared to lament the removal of the press ; but as 
Mr. Bourne, who was acquainted with the art of print- 
ing, had a small press and types, and others had been 
requested from England, it was the less to be regretted. 
The principal object attempted in the establishment of 
a station at Afareaitu having been accomplished, we 
left our houses and gardens, and took a most affection- 
ate leave of our friends, who evinced great regret at our 

The season we had spent with them had been to us 
a period of no ordinary activity and excitement, and it 
would probably be regarded by them as an era in their 
history. We trust some advantage was derived from 
the instructions they had received ; and we have every 
reason to remember with pleasure the hospitality and 
kindness we experienced. Once a week the people of 
Maatea, a neighbouring district, brought our family a 
present of bread-fruit and other articles of food ; the 
inhabitants of Afareaitu and the district of Teavaro took 
a similar one to our companions. We reposed the most 
entire confidence in the people, and had no reason to 
regret even the exposure of" our property. We were 
robbed by an English servant, whom we had taken from 
Port Jackson, of linen and clothing ; but, although we 
had no lock, and for a long time no bolt, on our door 
(which, when fastened, a native could at any time have 
opened by putting his hand through the sticks and push- 
ing back the bolt, and though sometimes the door was 
left open all night), yet we do not know that one single 
article was stolen from us by the natives during the 
eighteen months we resided among them. 

I have visited the district only once since ; and al- 
though welcomed with every expression of gladness by 
the people, I experienced a sensation of melancholy 
interest in walking over the garden, the fences of which 


had been taken down, and a few flourishing shrubs only 
remained to mark its situation. Most of the valuable 
plants had been removed by the people to their own 
gardens, as the spot selected by me was not one which 
they would have preferred. A few cocoanuts which I 
had planted near the printing-office appeared to thrive, 
as they were protected by a light fence round each of 
the trees. 

When we were prepared to remove, the Haweis came 
round, took our goods and the articles belonging to the 
printing-office, &c. on board, and proceeded to Papetoai, 
where we shipped our cattle. On the 18th of June, 1818, 
Mr. Davies, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Ors- 
mond, Mrs. Ellis, and myself, accompanied by a number 
of the principal chiefs, sailed from Eimeo to the lee- 
ward islands. We arrived at Huahine late on the even- 
ing of the following day, and some of our party went 
on shore, but it was not till the morning of the 20th 
that we reached the anchorage in Fa-re harbour. 

Here I looked abroad with new and mingled emotions 
on the scene in which I was to commence my labours, 
and probably to spend the remainder of my life. The 
clear sky was reflected in the unruffled waters of the 
bay, which was bordered with a fine beach strewn with 
shells. The luxuriant convolvulus, presenting its broad 
and shining leaves in striking contrast with the white 
coral and sand, spread its vines across the beach, even 
to the margin of the water, over which the slender 
shrub or the flowering tree often extended its verdant 
branches, while the groves of stately bread-fruit, and 
the clumps of umbrageous callophi/llum, or tamanu-trees, 
and the tall and graceful waving cocoanuts, shaded the 
different parts of the shore. 

The district of Fa-re, bordering the harbour of the 
same name, is about a mile and a half or two miles in 
length, and reaches from the shore to the centre of the 
island. It is bounded on the south by a range of moun- 
tains separating it from the district of Haapape, and on 
the north by the small district of Buaoa, whence a long 
bleak point of land, called the Faaao, extending a con- 
siderable distance into the sea, and covered with tall 
cocoanut-trees, adds much to the beauty of the shore, 
and the security of the harbour. A ridge of inferior hills 
divides the district in the centre, and greatly increases 
the picturesque appearance of its scenery. A small 


river rises on the northern side of this ridge, and, flow- 
ing along the boundary between the two districts, meets 
the sea exactly opposite the northern entrance. An- 
other stream, more broad and rapid, rises at the head 
of the principal valley, and flows in a circuitous course 
to the southern part of the bay. The district is well 
watered and wooded. The lower hills, at the time of 
our arrival, were clothed with verdure, and the moun- 
tains in the centre of the island, whose summits ap- 
peared to penetrate the clouds, were often entirely cov- 
ered with trees. All was rich and luxuriant in vegetation 
but it was the richness and the luxuriance of a wilder- 
ness ; scarcely a trace of human culture could be seen, 
yet I could but think the scene 

" How fair, 
Were it but from sin refined : 
Man how free, how happy here, 
Were he pure as God is kind." 

A few native houses were visible : there were not prob- 
ably more than ten or twelve in the district, and the 
inhabitants might be occasionally seen guiding the light 
canoe across the bay, or leisurely walking beneath the 
shade of the spreading trees. They were the rude un- 
tutored tenants of the place ; their appearance and their 
actions were in perfect keeping with the scenes of wild- 
ness by which they were surrounded. The only cloth- 
ing most of them wore was a girdle of cloth bound 
loosely round the waist, and a shade of cocoanut-leaves 
over their foreheads. Notwithstanding this, it was im- 
possible to behold without emotion either the scenery 
or inhabitants. 

The plate which forms the frontispiece to the third 
volume of this work exhibits an accurate representation 
of the outline and character of the scenery in the north- 
eastern parts of the district and harbour, though taken 
at a period subsequent to our arrival, when the land- 
scape had been improved by partially clearing the 
ground near the shore, and erecting a number of 

In the forenoon of the day after we came to anchor, 
accompanied by Matapuupuu, we walked through the 
district in search of a house for Mr. Orsmond and my- 
self, and at length selected one on the southern side of, 


the bay, belonging to Taaroarii, the young chief of the 
island, while Mr. and Mrs. Williams were accommo- 
dated with another belonging to Maau, a raatira, who 
resided near the anchorage. Towards noon our goods 
were most of them landed and taken into our new hab- 
itation. It was a large oval building, standing within 
ten or twelve yards of the sea, without either partitions 
or even sides, consisting simply of a large roof, sup- 
ported by three pillars along the centre, and a number 
round the sides. The floor was composed of stones, 
sand, and clay. Mr. and Mrs. Orsmond occupied one 
end, and we took up our abode in the other. 

When our goods, &c. were all brought under its cover, 
and the boats had returned to the ship, we sat down to 
rest, and could not avoid gazing on the scene around us, 
before we began to adjust our luggage. Large frag- 
ments of rock were scattered at the base of the moun- 
tains that rose on one side of our dwelling, the sea rolled 
within a few yards on the other, and in each direction 
along the shore there was one wild and uncultivated 
wilderness. A pair of cattle that we had brought from 
New South Wales, with a young calf, all of which had 
been landed from the ship during the morning, were 
tied to an adjacent bread-fruit tree ; two or three milch 
goats from Eimeo, fastened together by bands of hibis- 
cus bark tied round their horns, had already taken their 
station on the craggy projections at the foot of the 
mountain, and were cropping the herbage that grew in 
the fissures of the rocks. One of our little ones was 
smiling in the lap of its native nurse, while the other 
was playing on the dried grass lying by the side of the 
boxes on which we were sitting ; and the natives, under 
the influence of highly excited curiosity, thronged 
around us in such numbers as to impede the circulation 
of the air. 

Our first effort was to prepare some refreshment. 
The chiefs had sent us a present of bread-fruit and fish. 
A native youth, fourteen or fifteen years of age, leaving 
the crowd, came forward and asked if he should cook us 
some bread-fruit. We accepted his offer ; he became a 
faithful servant, and continued with us till we removed 
from the islands. He fixed two large stones in the 
ground for a fireplace, and bringing a bundle of dry 
sticks from the adjacent bushes, lighted a fire between 
the stones, upon which he placed the tea-kettle. While 


he was employed in dressing onr bread-fruit, &c. we 
removed some of the boxes, piled up our luggage as 
compactly as we could, and when the food was pre- 
pared, sat down to a pleasant repast of fried fish, bread- 
fruit and plantains, cocoanut milk and tea. As a bev- 
erage we always preferred the latter, although the 
former is exceedingly pleasant. 

The large island of Raiatea lies immediately to the 
west of Fa-re harbour, and by the time we had finished 
our meal, the sun was partly hid behind the high and 
broken summits of its mountains. This admonished us 
to prepare our sleeping-place, as the twilight is short, 
and we were not sure of procuring lights for the evening. 
The natives cut down four stout sticks from the neigh- 
bouring trees, these we fixed in the earthen floor, and 
fastening sheets and native cloth from one to the other, 
enclosed our bed-room ; a couple of chests were carried 
into it, upon which we spread our bed, making up one 
for the children by the side of our own, on some pack- 
ages that lay on the floor. We procured cocoanut oil, 
and when it grew dark, breaking a cocoanut in half, 
took one end, and winding a little cotton-wool round the 
thin stalk of the leaflet of the tree, fixed it erect in the 
kernel of the nut. This we filled with the oil, and thus 
our lamp and oil were entirely the production of the 
cocoanut-tree ; the small piece of cotton-wick gath- 
ered from the garden in Eimeo being the only article 
it had not supplied. These were the only kind of lamps 
we had for some years, and, though rude in appearance, 
they gave a good light, when kept steady and sheltered 
from the wind. Shortly, however, after sunset this 
evening, the land-breeze came down from the moun- 
tains. As we had no shelter for our lamp, we found it 
difficult to keep it burning, and at an early hour retired 
to rest, tying our screen down with strips of bark, to 
prevent its being blown aside by the wind. Notwith- 
standing the novelty of our situation, the exposure to 
the air from the mountains, the roaring of the heavy 
surf on the reefs, the inroads of dogs, pigs, and natives, 
with no other shelter than a pile of boxes, we passed a 
comfortable night, and rose refreshed in the morning, 
thankful for the kind protection we had experienced, 
gratified also to find that no article of our property had 
been stolen, though all was unavoidably exposed. 
The island of Huahine had, in common with the others 


forming the leeward group, been visited by Mr. Nott, 
who had travelled round it, preaching to the inhabitants 
of the principal villages. The missionaries who had 
been expelled from Tahiti in 1808 had remained here 
some months prior to their final departure for Port 
Jackson; but at these periods only a temporary impres- 
sion had been made upon the minds of the people, 
which had, in a great degree, if not altogether, subsided. 
After the abolition of idolatry in Tahiti and Eimeo, and 
the subsequent adoption of Christianity by their inhabit- 
ants, Mahine, the king of Huahine, had sent down Va- 
haivi, one of his principal men, with directions to the 
chiefs to burn the idols, demolish the temples, and 
discontinue the ceremonies and worship connected 
therewith. This commission was executed, and not 
only were their objects of worship destroyed, their 
temples thrown down, the houses of their idols con- 
sumed, and idol- worship no longer practised ; but the 
rude stills employed in preparing ardent spirits from 
the sugar-cane, and other indigenous productions, were 
either broken or hid under ground. Intoxication, infant 
murder, and some of the more degrading vices, fostered 
under the sanction of their superstition, were also dis- 

This change, although approved and effected by the 
principal chiefs on the islands, in conjunction with the 
messenger of the king, was nevertheless opposed. 
Several chiefs of inferior influence, collecting their de- 
pendants, encamped on the borders of the lake near 
Maeva, and threatened to avenge the insult to the gods, 
by attacking the chiefs who had sanctioned their de- 
struction. Both parties, however, after assuming a 
hostile attitude for some time, adjusted their differences, 
and returned in peace to their respective districts, mu- 
tually agreeing to embrace Christianity, and wait the 
arrival of the missionaries, whose residence among 
them they had been led to expect. In this state we 
found them when we landed ; they had, with the ex- 
ception of one or two individuals, forsaken idolatry, and 
in profession at least had become Christians ; probably 
without understanding the nature of Christianity, or 
feeling in any great degree its moral restraints or its 
sacred influence. A few, including two or three who 
had been to Eimeo, had acquired the elements of read- 
ing, or had learned to repeat the lessons in the spelling- 


book, more from memory than acquaintance with spell- 
ing and reading ; the rest remained nearly in the same 
state in which they were when visited in 1808 and 1809, 
excepting that their superstitious ceremonies were dis- 
continued, and they had a building for the worship of the 
true God. 

For a number of Sabbaths after our arrival, but few 
of the inhabitants assembled for public worship, and 
the schools were very thinly attended. Those who 
came were so little acquainted with the gospel, that in 
the lessons given in the school, and the addresses de- 
livered to assemblies met for worship, it was found 
necessary to begin with the first principles of instruc- 
tion, and of Christianity. Numbers excused themselves 
from attending on account of the wearisomeness of 
learning their letters, when there was every reason to 
believe that unwillingness to conform to the precepts 
inculcated was the true cause of disinclination. They 
neglected public worship, because they said they did 
not know how to read ; this being considered a sufficient 
apology for the non-observance of the Sabbath, or the 
social duties of religion. Such neglect was also fre- 
quently used as a cover for wickedness. When spoken 
to on the impropriety of their conduct, they would 
sometimes answer, " We are not scholars," or, " We 
are not praying people ;" these being the terms em- 
ployed to designate those who made a profession of 
religion. Many were induced to keep back from the 
schools and the place of public worship from a desire 
to remain free from those restraints on their vicious 
practices which such profession of Christianity was 
considered to impose. 

Under these circumstances, we acted upon the prin- 
ciples by which our predecessors had invariably regu- 
lated their endeavours to teach the inhabitants of Tahiti 
and Eimeo ; and respecting which, after careful observa- 
tion, I believe we are unanimous in our conviction 
that they are the true principles upon which any at- 
tempts to instruct a rude untutored people can be prose- 
cuted with a prospect of the greatest ultimate success. 
We made no presents to those who were our scholars, 
more than to others from whom we had experienced 
an equal degree of hospitality ; we offered no reward to 
any one for learning, and held out no prospect of per- 
sonal or temporal advantage to our pupils and hearers ; 


and studiously avoided presenting any other induce- 
ments to learn, than the advantages that would be 
secured to our scholars themselves by the possession 
of that knowledge which we were not only willing but 
desirous to impart. At the same time we were most 
anxious distinctly and powerfully to impress on their 
minds the desirableness and necessity of their possess- 
ing correct ideas of the true God — the means of seeking 
his favour through Jesus Christ the only Saviour — the 
happiness that would result therefrom in the present 
life, and in that state of existence after death to which 
this was but preparative — together with the increase 
of knowledge and enjoyment that would attend their 
being able to read the printed books, — preserve what- 
ever they heard that was valuable, by making it fast 
upon the paper, — and corresponding by letter with their 
friends at a distance, as familiarly and distinctly as if 
they were present. By representations such as these, 
we endeavoured to excite in their minds a desire to 
hear the Scriptures read, and the gospel preached in 
the chapels, and to attend our instructions in the schools. 
Had our means been ample, and had we, on landing, 
or when inviting the attention of the chiefs and people 
to the objects of our proposed residence among them, 
liberally distributed presents of cloth, ironmongery, 
&c, or even engaged in part to support the children 
that would receive our lessons, the chapel would un- 
doubtedly have been well attended, and the scholars 
proportionably multiplied ; but it would have been only 
from the desire to receive a constant supply of pres- 
ents ; a motive highly prejudicial to the individuals by 
whom it would have been indulged, destructive of the 
comfort and disastrous to the future labours of the mis- 
sionary among them. So long as our distributions had 
been frequent and increasingly valuable, the expressions 
of attachment would have been ardent, and the at- 
tendance regular ; but when these had failed, their zeal, 
&c. would have declined, and the chapel and the school 
would have been deserted. In addition to this, when- 
ever a fresh supply of articles for our own maintenance 
or use might have arrived, if we had not been equally 
liberal in the distribution of our presents, we should 
have been unhesitatingly charged with keeping for our- 
selves that which was designed for them, and thus have 
been involved in unpleasant altercation. 


The plans of procedure in the commencement of a 
new mission must necessarily be regulated in a great 
degree by the circumstances of the people among whom 
it may be established ; and the extreme poverty or fugi- 
tive habits of the parents may render it desirable for the 
teachers either wholly or in part to maintain the scholars, 
in order to secure attendance. These instances are, I 
believe, very rare, and absolute necessity alone can 
warrant recourse to such a plan. Instruction itself will 
be undervalued ; it can never be attempted but on a very 
limited scale, and will be always liable to vexatious in- 
terruptions. A system of maintenance should only be 
adopted in regard to such pupils as it is hoped are under 
religious impressions, or are training with a view to 
their becoming monitors or schoolmasters themselves. 
In those parts of the world where the scholars could not 
be supported while at the schools, it would be better for 
them to devote a portion of their time to such employ- 
ment as would enable them to procure the means of sub- 
sistence themselves than that they should receive their 
maintenance from the mission. 

These remarks apply principally to the commence- 
ment of a mission among an unenlightened people, 
where a school will be an essential part of such estab- 
lishment ; at subsequent periods, rewards to those who 
have excelled, consisting of books, penknives, inkstands, 
slates, or other articles connected with the pursuits of 
the school, may be given with a good effect ; tending 
rather to stimulate to diligent enterprise than to cherish 
a spirit of dependent indolence, or to excite expectations 
that never can be gratified. 

In reference to presents made by missionaries to 
chiefs on their first settlement among an unenlightened 
people, I am disposed to think they are always injurious 
when given with a view of gaining influence, or inducing 
their recipients to attend to religious instruction. Self- 
interest, or a desire for property, is the principle upon 
which the intercourse uncivilized persons have with 
foreigners visiting their country for purposes of com- 
merce, &c. is regulated ; the estimation in which such 
individuals are usually held, and the influence they ex- 
ercise, is proportioned to the extent of their property, 
or the portions of it which the natives receive. Not a 
few instances have occurred among the islands of the 

Vol. II.— I 


Pacific, in which individuals who, while their presents 
were unsparingly lavished upon the people, were re- 
garded as kings and chiefs among them, but who, when 
they have experienced a reverse in their circumstances, 
have been treated with marked and contemptuous neg- 
lect. An equal degree of this kind of influence the 
means of the missionary will never enable him to gain 
among the people, nor ought he for a moment to desire 
it. Discouraging indeed will be his prospects, if the 
estimation in which he is held by those among whom 
he labours be only that which arises from their expect- 
ation of the presents he may make them. His influence 
must be of a higher order, if he desires to succeed. 

The effect of a present on the mind of a rude or par- 
tially civilized chieftain is instantaneous ; but it requires 
constant repetition or increase to prevent its decline. 
The influence which a missionary will aim to possess is 
more difficult to attain; but, when once possessed, is of 
exceedingly greater value. It is the result of a con- 
viction in the minds of the people that his ultimate aim 
is their welfare : that he comes among them to promote, 
not his own, but their interest ; and that his efforts tend 
to increase their knowledge and their enjoyments, and 
are adapted to put them in possession of the means of 
multiplying their comforts in this life, and leading them 
to future blessedness. 

To produce and sustain this conviction in the minds 
of the people around him should be among the first and 
the constant endeavours of a missionary. Until he has 
effected this, he can expect but little success; and when 
once, under the blessing of God, it is attained, one of 
the greatest difficulties in his way will be removed. 
This influence is not to be obtained by presents ; these, 
the most rude and untutored heathen know, are seldom 
given unless an equivalent is expected in return ; but it 
is to be gained by a full, plain, and explicit statement of 
his objects in the commencement of his work, and a 
uniform reference, in all his subsequent conduct, to the 
advancement of these objects. Uncivilized communi- 
ties are often most shrewd observers of the conduct of 
those who enter their society, and pay far more regard 
to the actions and dispositions than to the mere decla- 
rations of strangers. Singleness of aim and purity of 
motive, iinbodied before such observers in undeviating 


and disinterested efforts, will in general be appreciated, 
although they may not soon yield themselves up to the 
influence of those efforts. 

One of the most effectual means of implanting and 
preserving this impression is, the exhibition of uniform 
benevolence. The office and the aim of every mission- 
ary require the exercise of this disposition in the highest 
degree ; and he who would be successful should by this 
identify himself as far as possible with the objects of 
his regard. Without officiously interfering with their 
individual or family affairs, he should interest himself 
in their welfare, and strive to share and alleviate their 
distress. Besides the deep commiseration which their 
spiritual wretchedness will excite, he will often find 
their temporal afflictions and sorrows such as to claim 
his tenderest sympathy. " Kindness is the key to the 
human heart ;" when the spirit is softened or subdued 
under the influence of sufferings, it is often most sus- 
ceptible of salutary impression ; and the exercise of 
Christian sympathy and kindness in such a season will 
seldom fail to produce, even among the most barbarous 
tribes, highly favourable results. 

In mere casual visits, or journeys through the coun- 
tries of uncivilized tribes, presents to their chiefs are 
necessary ; and often desirable, even where a mission- 
ary is a permanent resident: but they should always be 
given as a token of friendship and personal respect from 
the missionary, or of good-will from some friends by 
whom they may have been sent, and not as a means of 
obtaining influence, or inducing the people to attend to 




Arrivals in Huahine— Support of the mission — Formation of the Tahitian 
Missionary Society— Place of meeting — Speech of the king — Formation of 
a society in Huahine— Establishment of the mission in Raiatea— Descrip- 
tion of the district of Fa-re — Erection of dwellings— Preaching in the native 
language— Indolence of the South Sea islanders — Means adopted for the 
encouragement of industry — Cotton plantation — Disappointment in returns 
— Arrival of Mr. Gyles— Introduction of the art of making sugar, &c — Visit 
to Tahiti— Sugar plantations and mills in the leeward islands — Introduc- 
tion of coffee from Norfolk Island— Culture and preparation of tobacco for 

Shortly after our arrival in Huahine, a large boat 
belonging to Mahine, the chief of the island, two others 
belonging to Messrs. Orsmond and Williams, and a fleet 
of canoes, brought down from Eimeo a number of 
chiefs and people belonging to Huahine, Raiatea, &c. 
They had gone to Tahiti many years before, for the 
purpose of assisting Pomare in the resumption of his 
authority, had witnessed and participated the change 
that had taken place, and had afterward prolonged their 
residence, in order to enjoy the advantages of instruc- 
tion until a mission should be established in their native 
islands. Their arrival was welcomed with joy, and we 
were happy to receive their countenance and co-opera- 
tion in the prosecution of our work. An excitement 
highly beneficial in its tendency was awakened in the 
minds of the people, who, influenced by the example 
and advice of their friends from Eimeo, attended in 
great numbers daily at the schools, and were seen in 
the chapel, not only on the Sabbath, but whenever it 
was open for public worship. Numerous applications 
were also made for spelling-books, of which, with other 
books of an elementary kind, a supply had been printed 
in Eimeo. 

When the whole of the missionaries reached Huahine, 
it was proposed in the first instance to form only one 
station in the leeward islands ; and that those of us 
who had but recently arrived from England should 
unitedty prosecute the study of the language, with such 
assistance as Messrs. Davies and Nott could render us, 
until we should be able to perform divine service among 


the people, and conduct the affairs of a distinct station. 
The acquisition of the language engaged our constant 
attention ; and we not only devoted some hours every- 
day to its. study, but met together two or three times 
a week to receive instruction, and facilitate our im- 

We had not been many weeks at Fa-re before Tama- 
toa, the king of Raiatea, with his brother, and a number 
of chiefs from Raiatea, Tahaa, and Borabora, arrived. 
They were exceedingly anxious that some of our num- 
ber should at once remove to their islands. Mai, the 
king or chief of Borabora, who was also at Huahine, had 
before written to the missionaries, reminding them that 
Jesus Christ and his apostles did not confine themselves 
to one place, but visited different parts, that as many as 
could might receive their instructions. The necessities 
of the people were so obvious, the prospects of useful- 
ness so extensive, and the request of the chiefs so 
urgent, that, although unwilling to be deprived of the 
assistance of their seniors in the acquisition of the lan- 
guage, Mr. Williams and Mr. Threlkeld felt it to be their 
duty to accompany Tamatoa and the chiefs who were 
with him to Raiatea. They purposed to attempt their 
civilization, the establishment of schools, and, with the 
assistance of pious and intelligent natives, their instruc- 
tion in the use of letters, and the first principles of reli- 
gion ; while they were cultivating such an acquaintance 
with the language as would enable them more fully to 
unfold the great objects of their mission. They repre- 
sented distinctly the disadvantages under which they 
should commence public instruction, from their very 
partial knowledge of the language ; but the chiefs always 
replied, "Never mind that; you possess enough now 
to teach us more than we know, and we will make it 
our business to teach you our language." The visiters 
from Raiatea were supported in their application by a 
number of chiefs belonging to the same island ; who, 
after residing some years in Eimeo, had now removed 
to Huahine, and were desirous of returning to their own 
possessions in Raiatea and Tahaa, yet did not wish to 
go unaccompanied by some of those from whose in- 
struction they had derived advantage. 

It was always a matter of regret with the missiona- 
ries that the expenses of the establishment in the 
islands should be sustained altogether by the parent 


society ; and, in order to diminish this, they had from 
time to time disposed of the fruits of their own industry 
to the captains of vessels touching at Tahiti ; or they 
had sent small quantities to New South Wales, receiv- 
ing in return such articles as they were most in need of. 
The greater portion of the inhabitants having now em- 
braced Christianity, they availed themselves of what 
appeared to them the most suitable means for impress- 
ing the minds of the converts with the principle laid 
down in the Scriptures, that it is the duty of those who 
enjoy the gospel, not only to maintain, but also to extend 
it. It appeared to them that both these ends might be 
answered most appropriately and effectually by estab- 
lishing among the natives a missionary society, aux- 
iliary to the London society, rather than by calling 
upon them immediately after their conversion to support 
the teachers labouring among them. Such a measure 
might, while they were but partially acquainted with 
the true nature and design of Christianity, have induced 
some, who were perhaps halting between two opinions, 
to infer that the missionaries were influenced by mo- 
tives of pecuniary advantage, in their endeavours to 
induce them to receive Christian instruction. 

The inhabitants of the islands knew that many of the 
supplies which the families from time to time received 
were sent by their friends in England, and procured by 
the voluntary contributions of those there who had first 
sent and subsequently maintained the mission ; and it 
was thought that it would be better that their contribu- 
tions towards the support of Christianity should be 
combined with those of the contributors to the mission- 
ary society ; that the supplies for the teachers might 
still be drawn from this source, while at the same time 
the natives would be contributing towards the support 
of their own instructers, and yet identifying themselves 
with British Christians in their efforts to propagate 
Christianity throughout the world. 

The plan was proposed to the king, and at once ap- 

firoved by him ; it was also mentioned to several of the 
eading chiefs, by whom it was favourably received. 
Auna told me that the king one day said to him, " Auna, 
do you think you could collect five bamboo-canes of oil 
in a year V He answered, " Yes ;" and the king said, 
"Do you think you could appropriate so much towards 
sending the Word of God to the heathens i" Again he 


answered in the affirmative ; and the king again said, 
" Do yon think those that value the gospel would think 
it a great labour to collect so much yearly fbi" this pur- 
pose V Auna answered that he did not think they 
would. " Then," said the king, " think about it, and 
perhaps we can have a combination, or society, for this 
purpose." The king found several chiefs favourably 
disposed; the missionaries also proposed it to others; 
and, as it met with general approbation, the approach- 
ing month of May was appointed for the establishment 
of the association. 

Mr. Nott came over to Afareaitu for the purpose of 
completing the plan. On the 23d of April, in the same 
year, Messrs. Nott, Davies, Orsmond, and myself held 
a meeting with the king at onr house ; when the prin- 
ciples upon which the society should be formed, and the 
rules by which it was proposed to regulate its proceed- 
ings, were considered, and on the following day finally 

The 13th of May, 1818, being the anniversary of the 
parent institution in England, was fixed for the establish- 
ment and organization of the native society. The king 
and chiefs met at Papetoai, and it was a delightful and 
interesting day to all who were present. 

At sunrise we held a prayer-meeting in the English 
language. The natives held one among themselves at 
the same hour. The forenoon was appropriated to 
worship, in English; at which time a sermon was 
preached by Mr. Henry, one of the senior missionaries, 
and in the afternoon the services were entirely in the 
native language. 

The chiefs and people assembled from most of the 
districts of Eimeo, and a number of strangers from 
Tahiti, residing at Papetoai, were also present. The 
extension of the Redeemer's kingdom had been the topic 
of discourses in the native congregation on the pre- 
ceding Sabbath, and had in some degree prepared the 
minds of the people for entering more fully into the sub- 
ject. The public services on this occasion were to 
commence at three o'clock in the afternoon; but long 
before the appointed hour the chapel was crowded, and 
a far greater number than had gained admission still 
remained on the outside. 

Three or four hundred yards distant from the chapel 
there was a beautiful and extensive grove. To this spot 


it was proposed to adjourn, and thither the natives 
immediately repaired, seating themselves on the ground 
under the cocoanut-trees. At three o'clock we walked 
to the grove, and on entering it beheld one of the most 
imposing and delightful spectacles I think I ever wit- 
nessed in the islands. The sky was clear, the smooth 
surface of the ocean rippled with the cool and stirring 
breeze. The grove, stately and rich in all the luxuri- 
ance of tropical verdure, extended from the beach to 
the very base of the mountains, whose gradual ascent 
and rocky projections led to the interior. The long- 
winged and interwoven leaves of the trees formed a 
spreading canopy, through which a straggling sunbeam 
occasionally found its way, and among whose long and 
graceful leaflets the breeze from the ocean, sweeping 
softly, gave a degree of animation to the whole. The 
grass that grew underneath appeared like a rich carpet, 
spread by nature for the ceremony ; pendulous plants, 
some verdant in foliage, others rich and variegated in 
blossom, hung from the projections of the rocks, while 
several species of convolvulus and climbing plants were 
twined round the trunks of the trees, ornamenting the 
whole with their large and splendid pink blossoms. 
Near one of the large cocoanut-trees, whose cylindrical 
trunk appeared like a natural pillar supporting the roof, 
there was a rustic sort of stand, four or five feet above 
the ground, on which Mr. Nott took his station. Before 
him, in a large arm-chair provided for the occasion, sat 
Pomare, supported on the right by Tati, chief of Papara, 
and on the left by Upaparu, the king's secretary. A 
number of chiefs, with the queen and principal women 
of the islands, sat around ; while thousands of the peo- 
ple, attired in their gay and many-coloured native or 
European dresses, composed the vast assemblage, each 
one having come, as to a public festival, in his best ap- 
parel. Pomare was dressed in a fine yellow tiputa, 
stamped on that part which covered his left breast with 
a rich and elegant scarlet flower, instead of a star. 
Most of the chiefs wore the native costume, and the 
females were arrayed in white native cloth and yellow 
cocoanut-leaf shades, or bonnets, with wreaths of sweet- 
scented flowers round their necks, or garlands of the 
same in their hair. The services commenced with 
singing, in which many of the natives joined. A solemn 
prayer was offered, after which Mr. Nott delivered a 


short, animated, and suitable discourse, from the eu- 
nuch's answer to Philip, Acts viii. 30, 31. As soon as 
this was concluded, Poinare addressed the multitude 
of his subjects around, proposing the formation of a 

He began by referring them to the ages that were 
past, and to the system of false religion by which they 
had been so long enslaved, reminding them very feel- 
ingly of the rigid exactions imposed in the name of their 
imaginary gods, for they were but pieces of wood, or 
cocoanut-husk. He then alluded to the toil they en- 
dured, and the z.eal and diligence so often manifested, 
in the service of these idols. To them the first-fruits 
of the field, the choicest fish from the sea, with the 
most valuable productions of their labour and ingenuity, 
were offered ; and to propitiate their favour, avert their 
displeasure and death, its dreaded consequence, human 
victims were so often slain. While referring to these 
dark and distressing features of their idolatry, the gen- 
eral seriousness of the assembly, and the indications of 
remorse or horror in the recollection of these cruelties, 
appeared to accompany and respond confirmation to his 
statements. In striking contrast with them he placed 
the mild and benevolent motives and tendency of the 
gospel of Jesus Christ, and the benefits its introduction 
had conferred : alluding to the very fact of their being 
assembled for the purpose which had convened them, as 
a powerful illustration of his remarks. He then stated 
the obligations they were under to God for sending 
them his Word, and the partial manifestation of gratitude 
they had yet given. After this he directed their atten- 
tion to the miserable situation of those whom God had 
not thus visited, and proposed that, from a sense of the 
value of the gospel, and a desire for its dissemination, 
they should form a Tahitian Missionary Society, to aid 
the London society in sending the gospel to the heathen, 
especially those in the islands of the surrounding ocean ; 
explaining the kind of remuneration given to the pro- 
prietors of ships, and the expensiveness even of sending 
missionaries. " The people of Africa," said he, " have 
already done so ; for though, like us, they have no 
money, they have given of their sheep, and other prop- 
erty. Let us also give of the produce of our islands, — 
pigs, or arrow-root, or cocoanut-oil. Yet it must be 
voluntary ; let it not be by compulsion. He that desires 


the Word of God to grow where it has been planted, 
and to be conveyed to countries wretched as ours was 
before it was brought to us, will contribute freely and 
liberally to promote its extension: he who is unac- 
quainted with its influence, and insensible to its claims, 
will not, perhaps, exert himself in this work. So let it 
be. Let him not be reproved ; neither let the chiefs in 
general, nor his superiors, be angry with him on that 
account." Pomare on this occasion seemed auxious to 
impress the minds of the people with his desire that 
they should act according to the dictates of their own 
judgment, and not form themselves into a society 
6imply because he had recommended it. As he drew 
lo the close of his address, he intimated his wish that 
those who approved of the proposal he had made should 
lift up their right hands. Two or three thousand naked 
arms were simultaneously elevated from the multitude 
assembled under the cocoanut-grove, presenting a spec- 
tacle no less imposing and affecting than it was pictu- 
resque and new. The regulations of the society were 
then read, and the treasurer <#nd secretaries chosen. 
By this time the shades of the evening began to gather 
round us, and the sun was just hidden by the distant 
wave of the horizon, when the king rose from his chair, 
and the chiefs and people retired to their dwellings, 
under feelings of excitement and satisfaction. There 
was so much rural beauty and secluded quietude in the 
scene, and so much that was novel and striking in the 
appearance of the people, momentous and delightful in 
the object for which they had been convened, that it was 
altogether an interesting meeting. 

Mahine, and the leeward or Society Island chiefs, 
who had been present at the formation of the Tahitian 
Missionary Society, were desirous that Huahine, al- 
though it had not been equally favoured with facilities 
for receiving the gospel, should not be behind any of the 
windward group in the efforts of its inhabitants to sus- 
tain and to propagate it. In a few months after their 
arrival, therefore, they proposed that a society, upon 
the plan of that established in Eimeo, should be formed 
in Huahine, in aid of the parent society in London. We 
were anxious to aid in the accomplishment of their de- 
sign ; and a day was fixed on which a public meeting 
was to be held for its formation. In the forenoon of 
},he 6th of October, 1818, Mahine and the missionaries 


of Huahine, Tamatoa, and those of Raiatea, Mai, and 
numbers from Borabora, repaired to the chapel, followed 
by crowds of the people. The place was soon filled, 
and a far greater number remained outside tlian were 
assembled under the roof. In order that as many as 
possible might hear, directions were given to takedown 
one of the ends of the house ; this was soon done ; so 
that those who could not gain admission were enabled 
to hear. 

Temporary verandas or coverings of cocoanut-leaves 
had been attached to the side of the house next the sea, 
widening it five or six feet, and on the other side it was 
also thrown open. A sermon was preached in the fore- 
noon, and in the afternoon the people were addressed 
by Mahine, Taua, and other leading chiefs, on the ad- 
vantages they had derived from the gospel, the destitute 
state of those who had not received ft, and the obliga- 
tion they were under to send it; proposing, at the same 
time, that each person so disposed should annually pre- 
pare a small quantity of cocoanut-oil, which should be 
collected, sent to England, and sold, to aid the society 
which had sent teachers to Tahiti in sending them to 
other nations. 

Those who had been at Eimeo, and many of the in- 
habitants of Huahine, appeared interested in the details 
that were given of the condition of other parts of the 
world, and the efforts that had been made by Christians 
in England to send them the means of instruction. The 
presence of the chiefs of the different islands, with 
numbers of their people, the former devotees of their 
respective national idols, and the adherents of the dif- 
ferent political parties, who had often within the last 
twenty years met for battle on the shores of Huahine 
or Raiatea, together with the novelty of the object, and 
the excitement of feeling which such a concourse of 
people necessarily produced, rendered the meeting ex- 
ceedingly interesting, though to us it was less so than 
one subsequently held in Fa-re, and that which we had 
attended in Eimeo. 

The Haweis having conveyed the missionaries to their 
respective stations, taken in cocoanut-oil, and such other 
productions of the islands as were marketable at Port 
Jackson, left Tahiti, and touched at Huahine, on her 
way to the colony of New South Wales. Messrs. Wil- 
liams and Threlkeld had availed themselves of the visit 


of the Active, in the month of September, to remove 
with their families to Raiatea, and form a new station 
in that large and important island. Tamatoa, the king, 
and his brother accompanied them, while the rest of the 
chiefs and people of that island followed in their boats 
and canoes. In the Haweis, which left Huahine early in 
December, 1818, Mr. Hayward, from Eimeo, proceeded 
on a voyage to Port Jackson, and Mr. and Mrs. Orsmond 
to Raiatea, while Messrs. Nott, Davies, Barff, and my- 
self remained at Huahine. 

Our temporary dwelling was scarcely rendered com- 
fortable, by partitioning the different rooms with bam- 
boo-canes, and covering them with Tahitian cloth, when 
it was necessary to prepare for the erection of a print- 
ing-office, the supply of books brought from Eimeo being 
found unequal to the increasing demand. Mr. Nott was 
also revising for the press the Gospel by John, and Mr. 
Davies had the Gospel of Matthew ready. This ren- 
dered it expedient to examine the district, that we might 
select the most eligible place for the erection of our 
permanent dwelling, to which we purposed to attach 
the printing-office. 

"We were desirous of securing the advantages of gar- 
den-ground and water; but in seeking these, we avoided 
obliging the natives to remove from any of those spots 
which they had already appropriated to their own use. 
In this there was not much difficulty ; the whole dis- 
trict was before us, and but few places, except in the 
vicinity of the shore, had been selected by the people, 
who were waiting till we had made our choice, that 
they might build as near our dwelling as would be 

We explored the district carefully, but often found 
the brushwood and interlaced branches of the trees so 
impervious that, without a hatchet, we should have 
penetrated but a short distance from the winding paths 
trodden by the natives. The soil was good throughout ; 
and as the people had chosen the most eligible places 
along the shore, we fixed upon a small elevation near 
the junction of two clear and rapid streamlets, about 
a quarter of a mile from the entrance of the valley of 
Mahamene. It was at this time a complete wilderness, 
overgrown with weeds and brushwood. We commenced 
preparing it for the site of our dwelling; and when 
cleared, it was a most delightful spot. 


A stream rolled at the bottom of a steep bank, about 
twenty yards from our house. Two or three aged and 
stately chestnut-trees growing on the margin of this 
bank extended their branches over the stream and the 
bank, casting around a grateful and an inviting shelter 
from the noontide sun. 

Immediately behind this spot, Matoereere, a black rock, 
the loftiest mountain in the island, towered in majesty 
above the surrounding hills. The lower part of the 
mountain appears basaltic ; the central strata are com- 
posed of a vesicular kind of volcanic rock, while the 
upper parts are a large kind of breccia. It is verdant to 
its summit, which is of a beautiful conic shape, sup- 
ported by a perpendicular rock. The inferior hills, on 
one side, were not only verdant, but to a considerable 
extent clothed with shrubs or trees, while a degree of 
steril whiteness marked the basaltic and volcanic rocks 
on the other. These gave a richness and picturesque 
appearance to the landscape, which was greatly height- 
ened by the lofty mountain in the centre. Often have 
I seen the mists and clouds resting on its sides, or en- 
circling its brow, while the sunbeams have irradiated its 
summit ; and it has appeared, especially when seen from 
a distance, 

"As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form, 
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm." 

On the northern side of the valley, and near the foot 
of Matoereere, we proposed to erect our dwelling and 
the printing-house. Mr. Davies selected a spot between 
this place and the sea, on the same side ; and Mr. Ors- 
mond fixed upon one near the southern border of the 
harbour, and on the opposite side of the valley of Ma- 
hamene, which was spacious, fertile,, well watered, and 
sufficiently high to be secure from dampness. 

The people readily erected the frame of our house 
and the printing-office, which was put up much in the 
same manner as that had been which we occupied in 
Eimeo ; but as it was intended for a more permanent 
abode, it was finished with greater care. It had but one 
floor, excepting that over the printing-office there was 
a kind of loft for drying the paper. The front was 
boarded with materials brought from Port Jackson. 
The walls at the ends and the back were plastered with 


excellent coral lime ; and both the printing-house and 
dwelling were floored with bread-fruit boards, split or 
sawn by the natives ; the windows in the bed-rooms, 
sitting-rooms, study, and printing-house were glazed; 
and, what was a new and strange thing to the natives, 
our kitchen, in which was a stone oven, fireplace, and 
chimney, wis included under the same roof. 

Cooking-houses were usually detached from the 
dwellings of the chiefs and foreigners, but we attached 
it to our house, that Mrs. Ellis might avoiu exposure to 
the sun and heat of the middle of the day, whenever it 
might be necessary to superintend the dressing of our 
food. The partitions separating the different apart- 
ments were framed, wattled with thin sticks, and plas- 
tered ; and although we found the labour of building op- 
pressive, we were amply compensated by the comfort 
we subsequently enjoyed. The house was finished 
early in 1819, became our residence shortly afterward, 
and continued so until we embarked for the Sandwich 

Building houses, and avocations of a similar kind, 
were regarded as secondary objects ; our main efforts 
were directed to the acquisition of the language. 
Whatever besides we had been able to do, we consid- 
ered ourselves wholly inefficient until we were capable 
of delivering our message to the inhabitants in their 
own tongue. We had many difficulties to encounter, 
and were obliged to pick up the greater part of the lan- 
guage from the natives, who, unacquainted with our 
speech, could only explain to us the meaning of words 
and phrases by their own ; thus their explanations often 
increased our perplexity. My intimate acquaintance 
with all that had been printed afforded me great facility 
in prosecuting the study of Tahitian. In less than a 
year, I was able to converse with the people on com- 
mon topics, and preached my first sermon in Tahitian 
in the month of November, 1818. 

I was much affected on giving up myself to mission- 
ary pursuits, on leaving England, and on reaching the 
islands ; but I had never so deeply felt the responsibility 
of my situation, and my insufficiency for the work, as 
I did on the day when I delivered my first native dis- 
course. The congregation was large, the chiefs and 
missionaries were present, and at the appointed time I 
commenced the services with reading and prayer, exer- 


cises in which I had occasionally engaged before. I 
had selected for the text what appeared a most suitable 
passage with which to commence my public ministry : 
" This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all accepta- 
tion, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sin- 
ners," 1 Tim. i. 15. I was enabled to conclude the 
service with less difficulty than I expected, and was 
happy to have an opportunity of declaring, though very 
imperfectly, truths that were able to make those to 
whom they were delivered wise unto salvation, through 
faith in Christ Jesus. In continuing my labours, I 
found it necessary, on account of the peculiarities of the 
native language, to write out most of my discourses 
and commit them to memory, before I could venture to 
address them to the people. 

The establishment of schools, the reducing to writing 
and a regular grammatical system, uncultivated and 
oral languages, and the translation of the sacred Scrip- 
tures, have ever been acknowledged as important, if not 
essential, parts of a missionary's duty, but the promul- 
gation of the gospel by the living voice has always been 
considered by us as the primary and, wherever practi- 
cable, the best means of converting the heathen ; and 
though the other departments of labour have not been 
neglected, this has been regarded as the first great duty of 
a missionary — according with his very designation, the 
principal design of the institution under whose patronage 
he is engaged, the practice of the apostles and first mis- 
sionaries, and the spirit as well as the letter of the 
Divine commission, whence he derives his highest 
sanction, and anticipates greatest success. Preparation 
for this service has therefore been regarded as demand- 
ing particular attention. 

After our arrival at Huahine, in addition to the pre- 
paration of their dwellings, Messrs. Nott and Davies 
had been employed in preaching to the people, and pre- 
paring the Gospels of Matthew and John for the press. 
In the schools Mr. Barflf had been much engaged, and 
Mr. Orsmond, prior to his removal to 'Raiatea, had 
assisted in the instruction of the people, not only 
of Fa-re, but also of the adjoining districts. 

The indolence of the South Sea islanders has long 
been proverbial, and our minds were not less affected 
on beholding it than those of other visiters had been 
We were convinced that it was the parent of many 


of their crimes, infant-murder not excepted, and was 
also a perpetual source of misery. The warmth of the 
climate, the spontaneous abundance with which the 
earth and the sea furnished, not merely the necessaries 
of life, but what was to the inhabitants the means of 
luxurious indulgence, had no doubt strengthened their 
natural love of ease, and nurtured those habits of ex- 
cessive indolence in which they passed the greater por- 
tion of their lives. 

These habits, so perfectly congenial to their uncul- 
tivated minds, to the fugitive manner of life, mirthful 
disposition, and rude state of society that prevailed 
among the islanders, appeared one of the most formi- 
dable barriers to their receiving our instructions, im- 
bibing the spirit and exhibiting the moral influence of 
religion, and advancing in civilization. All classes 
were alike insensible to the gratification arising from 
mental improvement, and ignorant of the enjoyments 
of social and domestic life, the comforts of home, and 
the refinements and conveniences which arts and labour 
add to the bestowments of Providence. The difficulties 
we encountered resulted not less from the inveteracy 
of their idle habits, than from the absence of all induce- 
ments to labour, that were sufficiently powerful to call 
into action their dormant energies. Their wants were 
few, and their desires limited to the means of mere 
animal existence and enjoyment ; these were supplied 
without much anxiety or effort, and possessing these 
they were satisfied. 

During the early periods of their residence in the 
islands, our predecessors often endeavoured to rouse 
them from their abject and wretched modes of life, by 
advising them to build more comfortable dwellings, to 
wear more decent clothing, and to adopt, so far as cir- 
cumstances would admit, the conveniences and com- 
forts of Europeans. While the inhabitants continued 
heathens, their endeavours were altogether unavailing. 
The people frequently said, " We should like some 
of these things very well, but we cannot have them 
without working; that we do not like, and therefore 
would rather do without them. The bananas and the 
plantains, &c. ripen on the trees, and the pigs fatten 
on the fruits that are strewed beneath them, even wiiile 
we sleep ; these are all we want, why therefore should 
we work ?" 


" They knew no higher, sought no happier state, 
Had no fine instinct of superior joys. 
Why should they toil to make the earth hring forth, 
When without toil she gave them all they wanted J! 
The bread-fruit ripened, while they lay beneath 
Its shadows in luxurious indolence ; 
The cocoa filled its nuts with milk and kernels ; 
And while they slumbered from their heavy meals, 
In dead forgetfulness of life itself, 
The fish were spawning in unsounded depths : 
Unplanted roots were thriving under ground, 
To spread the tables of their future banquets !" 

They furnish a striking illustration of the sentiment, 
that to civilize a people they must first be Christian- 
ized ; that to attempt the former without the latter is 
like rearing a superstructure without a foundation. A 
change in their views and feelings had now taken place, 
and learning from the Scriptures that idleness, and 
irregular and debasing habits of life, were as opposed 
to the principles of Christianity as to their own per- 
sonal comfort, they were disposed to attend to the 
recommendations of their teachers in this as well as 
other matters. 

Industry, however, soon languishes, unless nurtured 
by more powerful motives than the effects of abstract 
principles upon partially enlightened and ill-regulated 
minds. To increase their wants, or to make some of 
the comforts and decencies of society as desirable as 
the bare necessaries of life, appeared to us the most 
probable method of furnishing incitements to permanent 
industry. It was therefore recommended to them to 
erect for themselves more comfortable dwellings, and 
cultivate a larger quantity of ground, to meet the exi- 
gencies of those seasons of scarcity which they often 
experienced during the intervals between the bread- 
fruit crops. We also persuaded them to use such arti- 
cles of our clothing as were adapted to their climate and 
habits, and to adopt our social and domestic habits of 
life. This not only required a considerable addition 
of personal labour, but a variety of articles that could 
not be supplied on the islands, and must be obtained 
through the medium of commerce with Port Jackson 
and England ; and they could only procure these arti- 
cles in a degree equal "to that in which they multiplied 
the productions of the soil, so as to be able to exchange 


them for the manufactured goods of civilized coun- 

None of the spontaneous productions of the islands 
were available for purposes of barter or exportation. 
The sandal-wood of the Sandwich Islands, and the pine- 
timber of New-Zealand, produced without effort on the 
part of the inhabitants, being valuable commodities, 
and given in exchange for the articles conveyed by 
foreign vessels to their shores, afforded great induce- 
ments to commercial adventure, and furnished the na- 
tives of those countries with facilities for increasing 
their resources and their comforts, of which the Tuhi- 
tians were destitute. Whatever articles of export they 
could ever expect to furnish, must be the product of 
their own industry ; this we were desirous to direct in 
channels the most profitable, such as were best suited 
to their means, and congenial to their previous habits. 
We therefore recommended them to direct their atten- 
tion to the culture of cotton, one variety of which ap- 
peared to be an indigenous plant in most of the islands. 
Several valuable kinds of cotton having been at different 
times introduced, were also growing remarkably well. 

Soon after we reached Huahine, a number of those 
who accompanied us from Eimeo, with some of the 
chiefs of the island, united in clearing and fencing a 
large piece of ground, which they planted with the best 
seeds they could procure, and called aua vavae, cotton- 
garden. The females were the most active in this 
work. W T hether they were more anxious than the other 
sex to obtain foreign articles of dress, and the conve- 
niences and the comforts of domestic life — or whether, 
feeling more peculiarly their obligations to Christianity, 
and desiring to take the lead in the introduction of those 
habits which they had been taught to consider as the 
necessary result of its principles, and the accompani- 
ments of a Christian profession — it is unnecessary to 
determine ; but they laboured diligently and persever- 
ingly, cutting down in the mountains wood for the 
fencing, employing their own servants to transport it to 
the shore, clearing away the brushwood, enclosing the 
ground, digging the soil, planting the seed, watching 
with constancy its growth, and carefully gathering the 

In order to encourage and direct them by our exam- 
ple, Messrs. Barff, Orsmond, and myself, having ob- 


tained permission from the owners of the valley in which 
we resided, employed natives to clear away the trees 
and bushes with which it was overgrown, for the purpose 
of planting it with coffee, sugar-cane, or cotton. On this 
we also bestowed personally many an hour, desirous 
not only to afford those who were inclined to follow 
our advice, and cultivate the earth for articles of com- 
merce, the encouragement of our counsel and direction, 
but to demonstrate the practicability of accomplishing, 
by means within their power, what had been proposed. 

The directors of the Missionary Society were fully 
sensible of the necessity of introducing a regular sys- 
tem of industry among the islanders, in order to their 
assuming and maintaining a station among Christian 
or civilized nations ; and felt that the interesting and 
peculiar circumstances of the people at this time re- 
quired something beyond the inculcation of the princi- 
ples of Christianity, and instruction in the use of let- 
ters. They justly inferred, that unless habits of indus- 
try were introduced, and civilization promoted, the 
people, if they did not absolutely return to all the ab- 
surdities, superstition, and cruelty of paganism, would 
develop but partially the genius and spirit of Chris- 
tianity, and exercise very imperfectly its practical vir- 
tues. The state of feeling, also, that prevailed among 
the inhabitants at this time, predisposed them readily 
to attend to any recommendations of the kind ; and the 
great deference they now paid to the counsel of their 
teachers presented an opportunity more favourable 
than had ever occurred before, or was likely to occur 

Influenced by these considerations, the directors sent 
to the South Sea islands Mr. Gyles, a gentleman who 
had been many years manager of a plantation in Jamaica, 
and who, being well acquainted with the culture of the 
cane, and the manufacture of sugar, was furnished by 
the Missionary Society with the necessary machinery 
and apparatus for introducing this branch of industry. 
Mr. Gyles was engaged for four years, during which 
time it was supposed he would be able, not only to 
commence his operations, but to proceed so as to con- 
vince the king and chiefs what might be done, and also 
to improve the natives in the art of cultivating cane, 
instruct them in the process of boiling, &c, and leave 
them capable of carrying it on by themselves. He 


reached Tahiti in August, 1818, and shortly afterward 
removed to Eimeo, where he began to erect the ma- 
chinery, and enclosed a considerable tract of ground in 
the fertile and extensive valley at the head of the beau- 
tiful bay of Opunohu, usually called Taloo harbour. 
Circumstances detained the king at Tahiti for many 
months after Mr. Gyles's arrival in Eimeo, and retarded 
very materially the progress of the undertaking. Sugar- 
cane was, however, procured from the gardens of the 
adjacent districts, and sugar made in the presence of 
the natives, who were delighted on discovering that an 
article so highly esteemed could be made on their own 
shores, from the spontaneous product of their soil. 

But the advantageous and expensive arrangements 
of the directors, for the purpose of introducing these 
important branches of commerce and productive labour, 
although not entirely frustrated, were in the first 
instance rendered to a great degree unavailing, by the 
unfounded reports of unprincipled and interested indi- 
viduals, who beheld the advancement of the people in 
knowledge and civilization with any other feelings than 
those of satisfaction. 

Early in the year 1819, the captain of a vessel, the 
Indus, whom purposes of commerce led to Tahiti, 
informed the king that Mr. Gyles's errand to Tahiti 
was merely experimental, and that, should the attempt 
to manufacture sugar succeed, individuals from distant 
countries, possessing influence and large resources, 
would establish themselves in the islands, and, with an 
armed force, which he would in vain attempt to oppose, 
would either destroy the inhabitants, or reduce them to 
slavery. These alarming statements were strength- 
ened by allusion to the present state of the West Indies, 
where Mr. Gyles had been engaged in the manufacture 
of sugar and the culture of coffee. This device was 
employed for a short time with success against the 
establishment of the mission among the Sandwich 
Islands ; where the king and chiefs were told, that 
though foreigners first went in a peaceable manner to 
the West Indies, they subsequently went with all the 
apparatus of war, attacked and defeated the inhabitants, 
hunted the fugitives with blood-hounds, finally exter- 
minated them, and remained masters of the islands. 

Though the inconsistency of this statement with 
the defenceless manner in which the missionaries had 


come among them would have been self-evident to an 
enlightened mind, — being supported by an incontrover- 
tible historical fact, it was remarkably adapted to operate 
powerfully upon an individual but partially informed, and 
exceedingly suspicious of every measure that might 
permanently alienate the smallest portion of territory, 
or lead to the establishment of foreign proprietorship, 
and consequent influence, in the islands. 

This view of the enterprise led Pomare to decline 
rendering that assistance which was expected, and the 
want of which retarded the progress of the work. The 
necessary labour required from the natives was paid 
for at a remarkably high price, and often difficult to 
obtain on any terms. 

Matters continued in this state until the month of 
May, 1819, when a national assembly of the chiefs and 
people from Tahiti and Eimeo met at Papaoa, in the 
district of Pa-re. The missionaries from the several 
stations assembled at the same period, for the purpose 
of commemorating the anniversary of the Tahitian 
Auxiliary Missionary Society. 

Before they returned the king informed them, that, 
apprehensive of unfavourable results from the reports 
already in circulation among the chiefs and people, he 
could not consent to the prosecution of the manufac- 
ture of sugar, &c, excepting on a very limited scale. 
Pomare was not hasty in forming his decision on any 
matter of importance, and by no means precipitate in 
his measures ; but on this occasion he appears to have 
been altogether uninfluenced by that temperate delibe- 
ration and judicious policy which he generally mani- 
fested in matters tending to improve the condition of 
the people, and increase the national resources. 

The missionaries also appear to have been so strongly 
influenced by the king's communication, that, instead 
of endeavouring to remove his objections, by per- 
suading him to allow the trial to be fairly made, and 
then to act accordingly, they deemed it expedient that 
so far as they, or the society by which the machinery 
had, at great expense, been sent out, were concerned, 
it should be at once discontinued. Accordingly, on 
the 14th of May, " in order to satisfy the king, and 
quiet the minds of the people," they advised Mr. 
Gyles " to return to New South Wales by the first 


Shortly after this decision, communications from 
England required a general meeting of the mission- 
aries from the several stations ; and Messrs. Williams, 
Barff, and myself went up from the leeward islands to 
Tahiti and Eimeo. By the same conveyance Mr. and 
Mrs. Nott removed to Tahiti, where Mr. Nott has since 
laboured in Matavai, or the adjacent district of Pa-re. 
We were detained there about a fortnight ; during 
which period we received from Mr. Gyles much infor- 
mation on the culture of the plant, and the manufacture 
of sugar. Before we left, Mr. Gyles very obligingly 
had a quantity of cane bruised and boiled, that we might 
not only understand the theory, but witness the process 
of grinding canes, boiling the juice, and granulating 
the syrup, so as to introduce it among the inhabitants 
of the leeward islands. 

Our business at Tahiti being finished, Messrs. Barff, 
Williams, and myself, with a number of natives, sailed 
from Eimeo about noon on the 12th August, in an open 
boat belonging to Mr. Hayward. Before the sun had 
set, we had nearly lost sight of the island ; and when 
the night gathered round us, we found ourselves in the 
midst of the vast Pacific, in a very small and fragile 
bark, without compass or nautical instrument, or any 
other means of directing our way than the luminaries 
of heaven. The night, however, was cloudless, and 

" Star after star, from some unseen abyss, 
Came through the sky, till ail the firmament 
Was thronged with constellations, and the sea 
Strown with their images." 

The interval between the close of the evening and 
the dawn of the following day was pleasantly spent ; 
and soon after sunrise on the morning of the 13th, we 
were gladdened by the sight of the lofty mountains in 
Huahine, which were seen above the line of clouds 
that rested on the western horizon. About five in the 
afternoon of the same day Mr. Barff and myself were 
restored to our families : thankful for the guidance and 
protection we had enjoyed on the voyage, and the mer- 
ciful care which those we left had experienced during 
our absence. 

The facility with which the manufacture of sugar 
might be carried on by the people, and the certain 


market it would always find in Port Jackson should they 
be able to furnish more than their own necessities 
required, induced us not only to recommend it to the 
natives, but also to plant with sugar-cane the ground 
already cleared and enclosed. 

The proprietors of the cotton garden watched the 
progress of the plants with care and anxiety, accom- 
panied probably with some of those golden dreams of 
future emolument which frequently operate very pow- 
erfully on the minds of individuals commencing an en- 
terprise, which, although in some degree uncertain as 
to its results, yet promises, upon the whole, an increase 
of wealth or enjoyment. Unhappily for them, the 
ground they had chosen was unsuitable, and many of 
the plants were not productive. The first crop, how- 
ever, was gathered, the seeds carefully picked out, and 
the cotton packed in baskets. When a ship arrived 
they were eager to dispose of it, expecting far more in 
return than the warmest encouragement in its culture 
had ever warranted. Their estimate of its value had 
been formed according to its bulk ; and when it was 
weighed, and they saw a large basket-full weigh only 
two or three pounds, and a proportionate price offered, 
they were greatly disappointed. They brought back 
their cotton, and hung it up in their houses till another 
ship arrived, when it was again presented for sale ; 
but being again estimated by weight, little if any more 
was offered for it. Some sold what they had collected, 
others were so disappointed, that they seemed hardly 
to care what became of it. This circumstance, toge- 
ther with the length of time and the constant attention 
that a cotton plantation required, before any return 
could be received, greatly discouraged them, and pre- 
vented their continuing its culture. Tiiey chose rather 
to feed a number of pigs, or cultivate the vegetables in 
demand by the shipping, dispose of them when vessels 
might put in for refreshments, and receive at once in 
exchange articles of cloth, &c, than wait till the 
crops should be gathered, and experience so much un- 
certainty, or meet with such annoying disappointments 
in the amount of their returns. 

Mr. Gyles, on his way to the colony of New South 
Wales in the month of August, 1819, spent some time 
at Huahine and Raiatea ; and we gladly availed our- 
selves of his visit, to make further inquiries relative to 


the object for which lie had come to the islands. Some 
spare machinery and boilers, sent out by the society, 
were also left at Huahine. Assisted by the natives, 
we subsequently erected a rustic mill ; and when the 
cane in our plantation was ripe, commenced our en- 
deavours to convert it into sugar. The cylinders for 
crushing the cane were perpendicular : an ox was 
trained to draw in the mill. He was yoked to a lever 
on one side of the central roller ; a number of natives 
pushing at another on the opposite side, turned the mill, 
and pressed the juice from the cane. The natives were 
surprised at the quantity of juice from a single cane, 
as they had never been accustomed to see it thus col- 
lected, but had generally broken the cane in small pieces, 
and by masticating it, extracted the juice. 

After boiling it some time, we added the temper, or 
mixture of lime and water; and when we supposed the 
quantity had been sufficiently reduced, directed the 
natives to remove it to a suitable vessel for cooling, 
the progress of which we watched very anxiously, and 
ultimately had the satisfaction of beholding fine-grained 
crystals of sugar formed from the liquid. The natives 
were delighted and astonished ; and although our sur- 
prise was not less than theirs, our satisfaction was 
more chastened ; for notwithstanding we had suc- 
ceeded so well in our first attempt, we considered it 
more the result of accident than skill, and were by no 
means confident that, in a second effort, we should be 
equally successful. 

We were, however, sufficiently encouraged to recom- 
mend the people, notwithstanding their disappointment 
in regard to the cotton, to direct their attention to the 
culture of sugar, since they had no longer any cause 
to doubt the practicability of procuring, from their 
respective plantations, sugar for their own use, or for 
barter with shipping. Our advice was not unheeded ; 
several of the chiefs were induced to cultivate the 
cane ; the mill we had erected became a kind of public 
machine, to which they brought their produce ; and 
although, in some instances, we failed in procuring 
good sugar,- in time the people were so well acquainted 
with the process as to be able to boil it themselves. 
The missionaries in Raiatea also erected a mill more 
efficient than the one we had constructed in Huahine, 


cultivated a quantity of cane, made sugar themselves, 
and taught the inhabitants of the island to do the 

Sugar-cane grows spontaneously in all the South Sea 
islands, and more than ten varieties are indigenous. 
It has been stated, that the best canes now cultivated 
in the West Indies are the kinds taken thither by Cap 
tain Bligh. In their native islands they grow remark- 
ably fine. I have frequently seen canes as thick as a 
man's wrist, and ten or twelve feet between the root 
and the leaves. The irimotu, a large yellow cane, and the 
to-ura, of a dark red colour, grow very large, and yield 
an abundance of juice ; but the patu, a small light red, 
long-jointed cane, with a thin husk or skin, contains 
the greatest quantity of saccharine matter. Some of 
the sugar manufactured by Mr. Gyles was of a very 
superior quality ; and if hired labour were less expen- 
sive, or the people more industrious, it might be raised 
with facility in considerable quantities. The return, 
however, is distant, and the crops are less productive 
than many other articles that might be cultivated in 
the islands, especially unconnected with the distillation 
of rum from the refuse of the juice, or the molasses 
of the sugar. This is probably the only plan that would 
render it profitable ; but to the use of rum the present 
chiefs of the leeward or Society Islands are averse ; 
its introduction since embracing Christianity they have 
been able to prevent ; and it will be matter of deepest 
regret, if either they or their successors should favour 
its distillation on the islands, or its importation from 
abroad. Next to idolatry, and the diseases introduced 
by foreigners, it is the greatest scourge that has ever 
spread its desolations through their country, and we 
cannot deprecate in terms too strong the conduct of 
those who now visit these shores, and who, insensible 
to any other consideration than that of avarice or vice, 
spare no pains to introduce ardent spirits among the 
people, and promote their use. 

But although these circumstances have hitherto 
operated, against the general culture of the cane, the 
chiefs and some of the people make sugar for their 
own consumption, and have occasionally supplied cap- 
tains of ships, who have wished to replenish their 
sea-stock. In this respect, although the attempt of 
the directors. to introduce extensively its cultivation, 

Vol. II.— K 


has failed in the first instance ; the natives have, never- 
theless, acquired from Mr. Gyles's residence among 
them an acquaintance with the process of manufac- 
turing this valuable article of commerce, which, it is 
presumed, will prove to the nation an important and 
a permanent advantage. 

The Haweis, in returning to the islands in the spring 
of 1819, touched at Norfolk Island, formerly an append- 
age to the colony of New South Wales, and I believe 
re-occupied since that period. From this island the 
captain brought away a number of young coffee-plants, 
which, on his arrival in the islands, were distributed 
among the different stations. The tender plants were 
once or twice removed, and all perished, excepting 
those in my garden at Huahine, which I was happy to 
succeed in preserving. The climate was favourable 
to their growth, and they appeared to thrive well 
After four years, each tree bore about forty berries, 
which when perfectly ripe were gathered, and sent to 
the several stations. They were planted, and have 
since flourished, so that in every island the coffee-plant 
is now growing, and it may be cultivated to almost any 
extent. The chiefs are fond of coffee as a beverage, 
and, with the people, will doubtless raise it for their 
own use ; and as it requires but comparatively little 
attention, probably it may be furnished in a greater 
abundance than either sugar or cotton. 

The tobacco-plant is another exotic common now in 
all the islands : it was introduced by Captain Cook, and 
has since been grown by the natives merely for their 
own use. Mr. Williams encouraged its cultivation to 
a considerable extent in the island of Raiatea, and the 
natives were taught to prepare it for the market of 
New South Wales, in a manner that rendered the 
Raiatean tobacco equal to any brought into Sydney. A 
lucrative branch of industry and commerce now ap- 
peared open to the enterprising and industrious inhab- 
itants, when a heavy duty, which, according to report, 
in order to favour its growth in New-Holland, was laid 
upon all taken into the port of Sydney, prevented 
their continuing its culture with the least expectation 
of profit. It was therefore in a great degree abandoned. 
The information, however, Avhich the inhabitants re- 
ceived from the individual whom Mr. Williams employed 
to instruct them, not only in its growth, but in the 


methods of preparing it in the different forms under 
which it is offered in the markets, was valuable ; and 
though no very advantageous results have hitherto fol- 
lowed, it may hereafter be productive of good. 


Renewed endeavours to promote industry among the people— Arrival of 
Messrs. Blossom and Armitage — Establishment of the cotton-factory— First 
cloth made in Eimeo — Prospects of success— Death of Mrs. Orstnond — 
Voyage to Raiatea — Sudden approach of a storm — Conduct of the natives — 
Appearance of waterspouts — Emotions awakened by the surrounding phe- 
nomena — Effects of waterspouts on the minds of the natives— Conduct of a 
party overtaken by one at sea — Deliverance during a voyage from the Sand- 
wich Islands — Abatement of the storm — Arrival at Raiatea — Kindness of 
the inhabitants — District of Opoa — Visit to the settlement — Importance of 
education — Methods of instruction — Sabbath-schools — Annual examination 
of the scholars — Public procession — Contrast between the present and for- 
mer circumstances of the children. 

Although the measures adopted by the directors of 
the Missionary Society for encouraging industry among 
the South Sea islanders, and furnishing them with a 
source of productive labour in the manufacture of sugar, 
had not accomplished all that was designed, and Mr. 
Gyles had returned to England before the expiration of 
the period for which he had been engaged, the directors 
still considered that it was their duty to endeavour to 
promote the temporal prosperity of the people — that the 
introduction of useful mechanic arts, and other means 
of advancing their civilization, though objects of only 
secondary importance, were not to be overlooked. Some 
stimulus to more regular employment than that to which 
the natives had been accustomed, during the indolent 
state of society from which they were emerging, was 
still necessary for their individual happiness, as well as 
their national prosperity. 

The directors of the Missionary Society were not 
influenced by their own choice, but by the necessities 
of the people, in making these and other secular ar- 
rangements which were not contemplated in the original 
constitution and object of, their association, but have 
resulted from the changes effected by their agents in 
the circumstances of those communities among which 


they have resided ; and have sometimes involved an 
expense which could not always be met without diffi- 
culty. These collateral exertions often occasion em- 
barrassment, and it would be highly gratifying if other 
institutions were able to prosecute those departments 
of effort which are rather appendages than proper parts 
of missionary labour. Were the resources of those 
societies formed for the universal diffusion of education, 
and the means of the British and Foreign Bible Society 
such as to enable them to undertake entirely the instruc- 
tion of the heathen, and the translation and circulation 
of the Scriptures, it would greatly facilitate the exten- 
sion of Christianity. If, in addition to those already in 
existence, there was also an institution for the promo- 
tion of agriculture, mechanic arts, social order, and the 
general civilization of rude and barbarous tribes, such a 
society would exert a beneficial and powerful influence, 
and furnish an important agency, in conjunction with 
those now engaged. It would enable missionary insti 
tutions to follow more energetically their simple and 
primary labours in sending forth messengers to preach 
the gospel to the heathen. 

Such a society, however, did not exist. The promo- 
tion of industry and civil improvement were important 
objects, and in order to accomplish them, especially in 
reference to the rising generation, two artisans, Messrs. 
Blossom and Armitage, were sent out with the deputa- 
tion who visited the South Seas in 1821. The former 
was a carpenter, acquainted with the construction of 
machinery and wood-work in general ; a department of 
labour highly advantageous to a rude, or but partially 
civilized people, and at this time in great estimation 
among the Tahitians. Mr. Blossom has been engaged 
in teaching native youth and others these arts ; and, 
though not altogether so successful as he desired, has 
nevertheless seen two or three excellent workmen 
trained under his care. 

The introduction among an indolent people of any art 
that requires constant, and sometimes heavy, labour 
must be gradual ; but as building, and the use of house- 
hold furniture, &c. increases among the people, skill in 
these departments will be held in higher esteem, and 
the number of workmen will necessarily increase with 
the demand for their labour, and the remuneration it 


It was known that, with but slight attention, the cot- 
ton-plant might be cultivated in the islands to almost 
any extent ; and it was supposed that, although the 
smallness of the returns it had brought when offered for 
sale in the raw state, together with the difficulties at- 
tending their first attempt, had deterred the people from 
persevering in its culture, yet that they might be induced 
to resume it, if taught on the spot to manufacture cotton- 
cloth. This was an article in great and constant demand 
throughout the islands. Mr. Armitage was therefore 
sent to attempt to teach the natives to spin and weave 
the cotton grown in their own gardens. He was a 
native of Manchester, where the members of his family 
still reside. He was well qualified for the undertaking, 
possessing an intimate acquaintance with the various 
processes by which raw cotton is made into cloth, and 
having been overseer or foreman of an extensive manu- 

In acceding to the proposal of the directors, and en- 
gaging in this enterprise, he manifested a degree of 
devotedness seldom excelled. He exchanged inviting 
prospects of wealth, comfort, and usefulness at home, 
for the toil and self-denial inseparable from such an 
attempt. The gentleman who had hitherto been his 
employer had proposed to make him his partner, had 
arranged for the advance of a very considerable sum of 
money, part of the materials for commencing the new 
establishment were procured, and the results in that 
line of business have since been such as to warrant the 
inference that every advantage the parties anticipated 
might have been realized. This, however, he relin- 
quished, and cheerfully engaged in an attempt to pro- 
mote the industry of the islanders, with no other remu- 
neration than the missionaries receive — a bare supply 
of the necessaries of life. 

It may perhaps be thought that I am trespassing the 
bounds of propriety in giving these particulars to the 
public ; but in this instance, and there are others that 
might also be adduced, I feel it due, not more to the 
individual than to the cause in which he is embarked, 
to the friends by whom it is supported, and even to 
those who, in consequence of mistaken views and mis- 
representation, may sometimes be induced to suppose 
mercenary motives influence those who engage in mis- 
sionary undertakings. 


In the month of September, 1821, they reached Tahiti. 
The carding-machine, looms, &c. were landed, and 
placed under the care of Paiti, a chief residing near the 
harbour of Taone ; and in the adjacent village of Pirae 
Messrs. Armitage and Blossom took up their abode. 

Like every other undertaking that has yet been made 
to benefit the people, the cotton-factory had to contend 
with great difficulties. At first the king and chiefs, 
under the recollection of the reported design and tend- 
ency of the sugar-manufactory, expressed their wishes 
that the establishment should be formed near their prin- 
cipal residence, that all proceedings connected with it 
might be under their inspection. Subsequently, when 
they entered into its design, and began to consider that 
it would become a source of pecuniary advantage, 
although it was thought that Eimeo would be most eli- 
gible for its establishment, the chiefs of Pa-re and the 
adjoining districts refused to allow the machinery to be 
removed. In this state matters remained some time — 
several of the finer parts of the iron-work were destroyed 
by the rust, and the whole greatly injured. 

The deputation and the missionaries, however, con- 
sidering that the island of Eimeo afforded the greatest 
facilities for carrying on the work, removed it thither, and 
with great expense and labour Messrs. Armitage and 
Blossom erected the machinery, and commenced their 
work. Shortly after this was completed, Mr. Blossom 
removed to the opposite side of the island, to take charge 
of the secular concerns of the South Sea Academy, and 
the work has since been carried on by Mr. Armitage 

The machinery, &c. were considered as belonging to 
the Missionary Society ; but at a public meeting held in 
Eimeo in May, 1824, for the purpose of arranging the 
principles upon which its future operations should be 
conducted, it was distinctly stated by the deputation, 
and recognised by the missionaries, " That the society 
contemplates no other advantage in promoting the manu- 
facture of cloth by this machinery than the good of the 
inhabitants of these islands ;" " That no charges by way 
of profit shall be made upon the cloth manufactured and 
sold to the inhabitants, more than is merely necessary 
to defray the expenses attending it ;" and " That all the 
inhabitants of the islands connected with both the wind- 
ward and leeward missions shall be allowed to share 


alike in the advantages of this manufactory.'* At the 
same time it was recommended that two young men 
and two young women from each island should be sent 
to learn the art of making looms, spinning, weaving, &c 

The work commenced with cotton belonging to the 
native missionary societies. Mr. Armitage taught them 
to card the cotton, and Mrs. Armitage instructed them 
in spinning. Their first attempts, as might be expected, 
were exceedingly awkward, and the warp they furnished 
was difficult to weave. One piece of cloth, however, 
fifty yards in length, was finished and presented to the 
king. Its appearance was coarse, and inferior to the 
imported calicoes of British manufacture ; it was never- 
theless grateful to the chiefs, from the fact of its being 
the first ever manufactured in their own islands. 

Cotton for another piece was prepared, and the natives 
commenced spinning ; but the confinement required 
being irksome, and their expectations rather lowered as 
to the quality of the cloth they were to receive as wages 
for their labour, — before the warp was ready for the 
loom they simultaneously discontinued their work. 
When interrogated as to their reasons for this sudden 
change in their conduct, it was found that they had not 
indeed struck for higher wages, but had left off to think 
about it, and that until their minds were made up they 
could not return. The spinning-wheels and the loom 
now stood still, excepting that Mrs. Armitage and Mrs. 
Blossom, with the assistance of their own servants, 
spun the cotton, which Mr. Armitage wove into about 
fifty yards of cloth for the use of the academy. 

Notwithstanding the inferior appearance of the cloth 
manufactured- in Eimeo, it was soon found to be more 
durable than that procured from the ships. Yet the disap- 
pointment which the natives had experienced prevented 
their cultivating the cotton ; and but little was available 
for the establishment, excepting that subscribed by the 
members of the native missionary societies ; the people 
declined coming to learn, and prospects were most un- 
promising. This, however, was not the only source of 

Traders, influenced by the narrow views and inter- 
ested motives which too frequently regulate the pro- 
ceedings of those who traffic with uncivilized nations, 
employed a variety of inducements to prevent the 
natives affording any encouragement to the establish- 


ment. At one time they assured them that it would be 
injurious to their interest, and, if successful, prevent 
their being visited by shipping, &c. ; offering at the same 
time to give them for their raw cotton twice as much 
cloth as they could procure at the factory. At other 
times theythreatened Mr. Armitage with ruin, and an- 
nounced their determination to oppose him. Sometimes 
they endeavoured to persuade him to abandon so hope- 
less a project as that of attempting to train the people 
to habits of industry. 

Their threatenings to seek his ruin by opposing his 
efforts are rather amusing. They doubtless supposed 
the attempt was on his part a speculation for the accu- 
mulation of wealth ; the only end which most propose 
who visit those islands, and which, when pursued on 
fair and upright principles, is not to be condemned. 
These proceedings, however, must have originated in 
very contracted views of the influence of such an estab- 
lishment, which, while it may induce and encourage 
habits of more regular employment, can never diminish 
the demand for British calicoes, which will be superior 
in texture, pattern, &c. to any that can be made in the 
islands. It will also tend to encourage the more exten- 
sive culture of the cotton ; and, in the raw state, the 
natives will never decline disposing of it to him who 
offers the best price. 

Notwithstanding these and various other discour- 
agements, Mr. Armitage was able to persevere ; and, as 
there was little prospect of the females he had taught 
to spin making up their minds to return, another party 
was selected. Nearly twenty girls, and eight or ten 
boys, engaged to learn to spin and weav^ The condi- 
tions on which they were instructed were almost such 
as they or their friends chose to propose, both as to the 
time they should continue, and the hours they should 
labour ; and, instead of receiving a premium for teach- 
ing them, Mr. Armitage agreed to pay them for every 
ounce of cotton they should spin. 

In every undertaking of this kind the greatest embar- 
rassments attend its outset ; and the same difficulties 
that had suspended the instruction of the two former 
parties were again to be overcome. The indolent habits 
of these young persons, their impatience of control, and 
the fugitive mode of life to which many had been ac- 
customed, were not to be at once removed. Recent 


accounts, however, convey the intelligence that the 
prospect of ultimately introducing this branch of labour 
extensively among the people is more encouraging than 
formerly. The females were able to spin strong and 
regular thread, or yarn ; one or two of the boys had 
been taught to make, all things considered, very good 
cloth. Mr. Armitage has also succeeded in dying the 
cloth, and thus furnishing different patterns and colours, 
which has greatly increased its value in their estimation. 
While the hands of the parties spinning or weaving are 
employed, the improvement of their minds is not neg- 
lected. Reading-lessons and passages of Scripture are 
affixed to the walls and different parts of the factory. 

The carding engine and some of the other parts of 
the machinery were turned by a large water-wheel ; but 
the work has often been retarded by the repairs that 
the wheel or its appendages have required. 

Several of the best native carpenters have, however, 
readily come forward to repair the wheel, and have 
received their payment in cloth made at the factory. 
The derangement of the machinery suspending the work 
of the spinners, some of them requested to take the 
cotton home, to prepare and spin at their own houses. 
The experiment has succeeded beyond what was anti- 
cipated, and the natives now bring to the factory for 
sale the cotton-yarn spun at their own dwellings, and 
ready for the loom. 

This circumstance, though insignificant, is interesting 
and important. The natives are now convinced that 
they can make cloth ; others besides those taught in 
the factory, we may expect, will desire to learn ; and, 
as they can prepare and spin the cotton at their own 
dwellings, this employment, which is certainly adapted 
to their climate and habits, as they can take it up and 
lay it down at their convenience, will probably be very 
extensively followed through the islands. The native 
carpenters will be able to make looms, as they have 
made turning-lathes, which, though rude, will be such 
as to answer their purpose. The spinning-wheel will 
also become an article of furniture in their houses; and 
the father, the brother, and the son will have the satis- 
faction of wearing native or homespun garments, made 
of cotton grown in their own gardens or plantations, and 
spun by their wives', or sisters', or daughters' hands. 
The Tahitian, like the Indian weaver, may perhaps at 


some future day be seen fixing his rude and simple loom 
under the shadow of the cocoanut or the banana tree, 
while the objects which often give such a charm to rural 
village scenery, and awaken so many ideas of content- 
ment and happy simplicity in connexion with the peas- 
antry of England, may be witnessed throughout the 
South Sea islands. At any rate, there is reason to hope 
that whatever difficulties may yet be encountered, the 
efforts made to introduce this branch of labour will be 
advantageous to the natives. 

In the month of December, 1818, when the Haweis 
sailed from Huahine, on her first voyage to New South 
"Wales, Mr. and Mrs. Orsmond left us, as we mutually 
supposed, on a visit of a few months to the island of 
Raiatea, for the purpose of receiving Mr. Threlkeld's 
attentions at a season of domestic anxiety. For two 
or three months contrary winds prevented any inter- 
course between us, when at length Mr. Orsmond's boat 
arrived, with the unexpected and melancholy tidings 
of the death of Mrs. Orsmond, which had taken place 
on the 6th January, 1819. She had survived but a few 
hours the birth of an infant daughter, by whom, in the 
space of five short days, she was followed to the eternal 
world, and, we believe, to the abodes of holy and un- 
ending rest. The disconsolate partner of her days was 
thus left a widower and childless, far from all the alle- 
viation which the sympathies and attentions of kindred 
and friends in such seasons impart. The kindness and 
the sympathy of his fellow-labourers mitigated, however, 
in a great degree the poignancy of his distress ; and 
the consolations of religion supported his mind under 
a bereavement, which he had sustained in circumstances 
unusually distressing. The people around were touched 
with a feeling of compassion ; but although their com- 
miseration was fully appreciated, there was not that 
reciprocity of feeling which could lessen, in any con- 
siderable degree, the burden of his grief. In the 
family of Mr. Williams he spent the greater part of 
his time, when not engaged in public duties, and ex- 
perienced from its members every attention which 
kindness and attachment could bestow. 

Early in 1819 circumstances rendered it desirable for 
us to visit Raiatea. We were anxious also to mingle 
our sympathies with those of our companions there, 
in that bereavement by which all were so deeply 


affected. We had been acquainted with Mr. and Mrs. 
Orsmond before leaving England. We had all left our na- 
tive land about the same period, and had spent the greater 
part of our time, since arriving in the islands, either 
at the same station or under one roof, and felt deeply 
the first breach now made by death in the little circle 
with which we were more immediately connected. 
We therefore availed ourselves of the return of Mr. 
Orsmond's boat to visit the station. 

About nine o'clock in the morning, Mr. Barff and 
myself, accompanied by five natives, and an English 
sailor, who had charge of the boat, embarked from 
Huahine. Though the settlements were about thirty 
miles apart, yet, as the width of the channel was not 
much more than twenty miles, the mountains and 
coast of the opposite island were distinctly seen. The 
wind being fair, we expected to reach the Raiatean 
shore in three or four hours, and to arrive at the resi- 
dence of our friends long before the close of day. 
We had not, however, been an hour at sea, when the 
heavens began to gather blackness, and lowering clouds 
intercepted our view of the shore we had left, and that 
to which we were bound. The wind became unsteady 
and boisterous, the sea rose, not in long heavy billows, 
but in short, cross, and broken waves. We had no 
compass on board. The dark and heavy atmosphere 
obscuring the sun prevented our discerning the land, 
and rendered us unconscious of the direction in Which 
the storm was driving us. We took down our large 
sails, leaving only a small one in the forepart of the 
boat, merely to keep it steady. 

The tempest increasing, the natives were alarmed, 
and during the occasional intervals in which the wind 
abated its violence, the rain came down in tremendous 
torrents. The rain calmed in a degree the broken and 
agitated surface of the ocean, that raged with threat- 
ening violence. Our boat being but small, not above 
eighteen feet long, and her edge, when the sea had 
been smooth not more than a foot or eighteen inches 
above its surface ; every wave that broke near threw 
its spray over us, and each billow, in striking our little 
bark, forced part of its foaming waters over the bow 
or the sides. Happily, we had a bucket on board, by 
means of which we were able to bale out the water. 

In this state we continued, I suppose, about two 


hours, hoping that the clouds would disperse, and the 
winds abate ; but, instead of this, the storm seemed to 
increase, and with it our danger. Most of the natives 
sat down in the bottom of the boat; and, under the 
influence of fear, either shut their eyes or covered them 
with their hands, expecting every moment that the 
waves would close over us. We were not uncon- 
scious of our peril, and as a last resort took down 
our little sail and our mast, tied the masts, bowsprit, 
and oars together in a bundle, with one end of a strong 
rope, and fastening the other end to the bow of our 
boat, threw them into the sea. The bundle of masts, 
oars, &c. acted as a kind of buoy, or floating anchor ; 
and not only broke the force of the billows that were 
rolling towards the boat, but kept it tolerably steady, 
while we were dashed on the broken wave, or wafted 
we knew not whither by the raging tempest. 

The rain soon abated, and the northern horizon 
became somewhat clear, but the joyful anticipation 
with which we viewed this change was soon super- 
seded by a new train of feelings, lire ure, tia moana! 
exclaimed one of the natives ; and looking in the direc- 
tion to which he pointed, we saw a large cylindrical 
waterspout, extending, like a massive column, from the 
ocean to the dark and impending clouds. It was not 
very distant, and seemed moving towards our appa- 
rently devoted boat. 

The roughness of the sea forbade our attempting to 
hoist a sail in order to avoid it ; and as we had no other 
means of safety at command, we endeavoured calmly to 
wait its approach. The natives abandoned themselves to 
despair, and either threw themselves along in the bottom 
of the boat, or sat crouching on the keel, with their 
faces downwards, and their eyes covered with their 
hands. The sailor kept at the helm, Mr. Barff sat on 
one side of the stern and I on the other, watching the 
alarming object before us ! While thus employed we 
saw two other waterspouts, and subsequently a third, 
if not more, so that we seemed almost surrounded with 
them. Some were well defined, extending in an un- 
broken line from the sea to the sky, like pillars resting 
on the ocean as their basis, and supporting the clouds ; 
others assuming the shape of a funnel or inverted cone, 
attached to the clouds, and extending towards the waters 
beneath. From the distinctness with which we saw- 


them, notwithstanding the density of the atmosphere, 
the farthest could not have been many miles distant. 
In some we imagined we could trace the spiral motion 
of the water as it was drawn to the clouds, which were 
every moment augmenting their portentous darkness. 
The sense, however, of personal danger and immediate 
destruction, if brought within the vortex of their in- 
fluence, restrained in a great degree all curious, and 
what, in other circumstances, would have been inter- 
esting observation, on the wonderful phenomena around 
us, the mighty agitation of the elements, and the ter- 
rific sublimity of these wonders of the deep. 

The roaring of the tempest, and the hollow sounds 
that murmured on the ear, as the heavy billow rolled 
in foam, or broke in contact with opposing billows, 
seemed as if deep called unto deep ; and the noise of 
waterspouts might almost be heard, while we were 
momentarily expecting that the mighty waves would 
sweep over us. 

I had once before, when seized with the cramp while 
bathing at a distance from my companions, been, as I 
supposed, on the verge of eternity. The danger then 
came upon me suddenly, and my thoughts while in 
peril were but few. The danger now appeared more 
imminent, and a watery grave every moment more prob- 
able : yet there was leisure afforded for reflection, and 
the sensibilities and powers of the mind were roused 
to an unusual state of excitement by the conflicting 
elements on every side. 

A retrospect of life, now perhaps about to close, pre- 
sented all the scenes through which I had passed, in 
rapid succession and in varied colours, each exhibiting 
the lights and shades by which it had been distinguished. 
Present circumstances and connexions claimed a 
thought. The sorrow of the people — the dearest ob- 
jects of earthly attachment, left but a few hours before 
in health and comfort on the receding shore — those 
unconscious infants that would soon, perhaps, be left 
fatherless, and dependent on their widowed mother, 
who, in cheerless loneliness, far from friends, and home, 
and country, might remain an exile among a race 
emerging from the rudest barbarism ; these reflections 
awakened a train of feelings not to be described. But 
the most impressive exercise of mind was that referring 
to the awful change approaching. The struggle and 


the gasp, as the wearied arm should attempt to resist 
the impetuous waves, the straining vision that should 
linger on the last ray of retiring light, as the deepening 
veil of water would gradually conceal it for ever, and 
the rolling billows heaving over the sinking and dying 
body, which, perhaps ere life should be extinct, might 
become the prey of voracious inhabitants of the deep, 
caused scarcely a thought, compared with the appear- 
ance of the disembodied spirit in the appearance of its 
Maker, the account to be rendered, and the awful and 
unalterable destiny that would await it there. These 
momentous objects absorbed all the powers of the 
mind, and produced an intensity of feeling, which for 
a long time rendered me almost insensible to the 
storm, or the liquid columns which threatened our 

The hours that followed were some of the most 
solemn 1 have ever passed in my life. Although much 
recurred to memory that demanded deep regret and 
most sincere repentance, yet I could look back upon 
that mercy that had first brought me to a knowledge 
of the Saviour, with a gratitude never perhaps exceeded. 
Him, and Him alone, 1 found to be a refuge, a rock in 
the storm of contending feelings, on Avhich my soul 
could cast the anchor of its hope for pardon and accept- 
ance before God; and although not visibly present, as 
with his disciples on the Sea of Tiberias, we could not 
but hope that He was spiritually present, and that, 
should our bodies rest till the morning of the resur- 
rection in the unfathomed caverns of the ocean, our 
souls would be by Him admitted to the abodes of 
blessedness and rest. I could not but think how awful 
would my state have been, had I in that hour been igno- 
rant of Christ, or had I neglected and despised the 
offers of his mercy ; and while the reflection induced 
thankfulness to Him through whom alone we had been 
made to share a hope of immortality, it awakened a 
tender sympathy for our fellow-voyagers, who sat in 
mournful silence at the helm or in the bottom of the 
boat, and seemed averse to conversation. Our prayers 
were offered to Him who is a present help in every 
time of danger — for ourselves — and those who sailed 
with us : and under these, or similar exercises several 
hours passed away. The storm continued during the 
dav. At intervals we beheld, through the clouds and 


rain, one or other of the waterspouts, the whole of 
which appeared almost stationary, until at length we 
lost sight of them altogether, when the spirits of our 
native voyagers evidently revived. 

The natives of the South Sea islands, although 
scarcely alarmed at thunder and lightning, are at sea 
greatly terrified by the appearance of waterspouts. 
They occur more frequently in the South than in the 
North Pacific, and although often seen among the Society 
Islands, are more rarely met with in the Sandwich 
group. But throughout the Pacific, waterspouts of 
varied form and size are among the most frequent of 
the splendid phenomena and mighty works of the Lord, 
which those behold who go down to the sea in ships, 
and do business upon the great waters. They are 
sublime objects of unusual interest, when viewed from 
the shore ; but when beheld at sea, especially if near, 
and from a small and fragile bark, as we had seen them, 
it is almost impossible so to divest the mind of a sense 
of personal danger as to contemplate with composure 
their stately movement, or the rapid internal circular 
eddy of the waters. 

Nor is it easy for an individual who has never beheld 
them in such a situation to realize the sensation pro- 
duced, when the solitary voyagers, from their light 
canoe, or deckless boat, dancing on every undulating 
wave, descry them towering from the surface of the 
water, uniting the ocean and the heavens, while the 
powerful agitation of the former indicates the mighty 
process by which they are sustained. Sometimes they 
have approached the shore, and although I do not 
recollect any instance of their actually destroying per- 
sons at sea, I am inclined to presume such a calamity 
must have occurred, or they would not be such objects 
of terror to the people. 

During our abode in Huahine, a number of natives 
were on a voyage from the leeward to the windward 
islands, in a boat belonging to Mr. Williams, when a 
waterspout approached them. They had heard that, 
when seen by navigators, they sometimes averted the 
threatened danger by discharging their artillery at the 
waterspout. Having a loaded musket in the boat, they 
at first thought of firing at the advancing column ; but 
as it approached, the agitation of the water was so great, 
and the phenomenon so appalling, that their hearts 


failed ; and when it was, according to their own account, 
within a hundred yards of their boat, and advancing 
directly upon them, they laid the musket down. The 
man at the helm now shut his eyes, and his companions 
threw themselves flat on their faces in the bottom of 
the boat. This is the exact position in which a captive 
doomed to death awaited the fatal stroke of a victor by 
whom he had been overcome in battle. After waiting 
in fearful suspense several minutes, the helmsman, hear- 
ing a rushing noise, involuntarily opened his eyes, and 
saw the column passing, with great velocity, at a dis- 
tance from the stern of the boat. He immediately 
called his companions, who joined, not only in watching 
its receding progress, but in acknowledging the protec- 
tion of the Almighty in their preservation. 

When returning from the Sandwich Islands on board 
the ship Russell, in 1825, we experienced a happy de- 
liverance from one of these wonderful and alarming 
objects. Our Sabbath afternoon worship on the quar- 
ter-deck had just terminated ; Mrs. Ellis was lying on 
a sofa, and, observing unusual indications of terror in 
the countenance of the boy at the helm, she said, " What 
is it that alarms you?" He answered, in hurried ac- 
cents, " I see a whirlwind coming," pointing to a cloud 
a little to the windward of the ship. His actions attracted 
the notice of the officer on deck, who instantly sent an 
able seaman to the helm, and called the captain. I had 
taken the books down into the cabin, and was putting 
them by, when I heard the officer, in a tone of unusual 
earnestness, ask the captain to come on deck. I hastily 
followed, and my attention was instantly directed to the 

The breeze was fresh, and as the object of alarm was 
still at some distance, it was possible we might avoid 
coming in contact with it. The captain, therefore, took 
in none of the sails, but called all hands on deck, ordered 
them to stand by the halliards, or ropes by which the sails 
are pulled up, so that, if necessary, they might let them 
go in an instant, and thus lower down the sails. We all 
marked its approach with great anxiety. The column 
was well denned, extending in an unbroken line from 
the sea to the clouds, which were neither dense nor 
lowering. Around the outside of the liquid cylinder 
was a kind of thick mist and, within, a substance re- 
sembling steam, ascending apparently with a spiral 
motion. We could not perceive that much effect was 


produced on the cloud attached to the upper part of the 
column, but the water at its base was considerably agi- 
tated with a whirling motion ; while the spray, which 
was thrown off from the circle formed by the lower 
part of the column, rose several feet above the level of 
the sea. After watching in breathless suspense for 
some time its advance in a line towards our ship, we 
had the satisfaction to see it incline in its course towards 
the starboard quarter, and ultimately pass by about a 
mile distant from the stern. The sail-ropes were again 
fastened, and we pursued our way under the influence 
of thankfulness for the deliverance we had experienced. 

But to return to our voyage to Raiatea : the storm, 
which had raged with violence ever since an hour after 
our departure from Huahine, began to abate towards 
the close of the day : we did not, however, see the 
land, and knew not whither we had drifted ; but soon 
after the setting of the sun the clouds dispersed, 
and a streak of light lingering in the western sky 
indicated the direction in which we ought to pro- 
ceed. The rain now ceased, the wind subsided — and 
although the surface of the sea was considerably agi- 
tated, it was no longer that quick dashing conflict of the 
waves to which we had been exposed, while " a war of 
mountains raged upon its surface," but a long and heavy 
sluggish sort of motion. We pulled in our bundle of 
masts and oars — the natives manned the oars, and rowed 
towards the west. 

The moon rose soon after the light of the sun had 
departed, and although she shone not at first in cloud- 
less majesty through an untroubled sky, yet the night 
was a perfect contrast to the day. The light fleecy 
clouds that passed over the surface of the sky, fringed 
with the moon's light, gave a pleasing animation to the 
scene — and 

"With scarce inferior lustre gleamed the sea, 
Whose waves were spangled with phosphoric fire ; 
As though the lightnings there had spent their shafts, 
And left the fragments glittering on the field." 

After rowing some time, we heard the hoarse roar- 
ing of the surf, as it broke upon the coral reef surround- 
ing the shore. To us this was a most welcome sound, 
indicating our approach to the land. Shortly afterward 
we saw a small island with two or three cocoanut-trees 


upon it, and subsequently the coral reef appeared in 
view. We now found ourselves near the Ava Moa, Sa- 
cred Passage, leading to Opoa, the southernmost harbour 
in the island of Raiatea j and after rowing two or three 
miles, landed about midnight. Weary and famished, 
drenched with the rain, and suffering much from the 
cold occasioned by the wetness of our clothes, we were 
truly thankful, after the incidents of the day, to find our- 
selves once again on shore. The inhabitants of the 
dwelling which we entered soon rose from their beds, 
kindled a large fire in the centre of the floor, cooked us 
some provisions, and furnished us with warm and clean 
native cloth, to wear while our own clothes were dried. 
Having refreshed ourselves, and united in grateful thanks- 
giving to the Preserver of our lives, we lay down upon 
our mats, and enjoyed several hours of refreshing re- 
pose. I have often been overtaken with storms when 
at sea in European vessels, boats, and native canoes, but 
to whatever real danger I may have been exposed, I 
never was surrounded by so much that was apparent, as 
during this voyage. 

After a few hours of unbroken rest, we arose recruited 
the next morning, found our dried clothes comfortable, 
united with our host and his family in the morning de- 
votions, and then, while they were preparing refresh- 
ments, took a view of the district. We found it not very 
extensive, though the land is rich and good. The gar- 
dens were large, and, at this time, well stocked with in- 
digenous roots and vegetables. Raiatea is not only the 
most important island of the leeward group, from its 
central situation and its geographical extent, but on ac- 
count of its identity in tradition with the origin of the 
people, and their preservation in the general deluge. It 
has been distinguished as the cradle of their mythology 
the birth-place and residence of Oro, the region to which 
disembodied spirits resorted, the seat of their oracle, 
and the abode of those priests whose predictions for 
many generations regulated the expectations of the 
nation. It is also intimately connected with the most 
important matters in the traditionary history and ancient 
religion of the people. Opoa is the most remarkable 
place in Raiatea ; of its earth, according to some of 
their traditions, the first pair were made by Tii or Taa- 
roa, and on its soil they fixed their abode. Here Oro 
held his court. It was called Hawaii ; and as distant 
colonies are said to have proceeded from it, it was 


probably the place at which some of the first inhabitants 
of the South Sea islands arrived. It has also long been 
a place of celebrity, not only in Raiatea, but throughout 
the whole of the Society Islands. It was the heredi- 
tary land of the reigning family, and the usual residence 
of the king and his household. But the most remark- 
able object connected with Opoa was the large marae, 
or temple, where the national idol was worshipped, and 
human victims were sacrificed. These offerings were 
not only brought from the districts of Raiatea and the 
adjacent islands, but also from the windward group, and 
even from the more distant islands to the south and 

The worship of Oro in the marae here appears to 
have been of the most sanguinary kind ; human immo- 
lation was frequent, and, in addition to the bones and 
other relics of the former sacrifices, now scattered 
among the ruins of the temple, there is still a large en- 
closure, the walls of which are formed entirely of human 
sculls. The horrid piles of sculls, in their various stages 
of decay, exhibit a ghastly spectacle. They are prin- 
cipally, if not entirely, the sculls of those who have 
been slain in battle. A number of beautiful trees grow 
around, especially the tamanu, callophyllum irtophyilum, 
and the aoa, ficus prolixa, resembling in its growth and 
appearance one of the varieties of the banian in India. 

In the inland part of the district there is a celebrated 
pare, or natural fortress, frequently resorted to by the 
inhabitants in seasons of war ; and with a little atten- 
tion it might easily be made impregnable, at least to 
such forces or machines as the natives could bring 
against it. 

A fine quay, or causeway, of coral rock had been 
raised along the edge of the southern side of the bay, on 
which the natives had erected the frame of a large and 
substantial place of worship. It appeared to have re- 
mained in the state in which we saw it for some months 
past. The king and chiefs, with their numerous attend- 
ants, had removed to the vicinity of the missionary 
station on the other side of the island, and the district 
was comparatively deserted. The frame of the build- 
ing had been prepared with great care, several of the 
pillars being of polished aito, or casuarina. 

Early in the afternoon we left our kind friends, and 
enjoyed a pleasant sail within the reef, along the eastern 


shore of the island ; which was remarkably broken, 
and beautiful in mountain scenery, as well as rich and 
verdant in the foliage with which the woody parts of 
the country were clothed. We passed between Tahaa 
and Raiatea, and arrived at the new missionary settle- 
ment on the north-west side of the latter about noon. 
Here we received a cordial welcome from our friends 
Messrs. Orsmond, Williams, and Threlkeld, who were 
fully occupied in their new sphere of labour, and attached 
to the people ; by whom they were respected, and among 
whom they had reason to believe they were usefully 

Mr. Orsmond appeared to sustain his bereavement 
with Christian fortitude. We visited the grave of the 
first labourer that had been called from our little band, 
and (with mingled feelings of regret at her early de- 
parture from the field we had unitedly cultivated, and 
sympathy with him whom she had left behind) beheld 
the humble mound under which her mortal remains 
were reposing, and around which a number of indige- 
nous and exotic flowers had been planted. — Mr. Williams 
and Mr. Orsmond had for some time past preached in 
the native language. They were not only anxious to 
instruct the people in religion, but to improve their 
present condition by encouraging them to build com- 
fortable houses after our example, and to bring under 
cultivation a larger portion of the soil than they had 
hitherto been accustomed to enclose. While we re- 
mained, we visited the different parts of the district, and 
called upon the king — whom we were delighted to find 
in a neat plastered house, — and after spending two or 
three days with them at Vaoaara, we returned to 

No circumstances connected with the station at Raia- 
tea afforded us more satisfaction than the favourable 
appearance under which the education of the inhabitants 
had been commenced. 

Next to the direct communication of the gospel by 
the living voice, the schools have been considered as 
the most important department of regular instruction. 
We have always superintended the schools, and gene- 
rally taught the higher classes. In some stations the 
boys and the men have been educated in one school, 
and the women and girls in another ; in others the dif- 
ferent sexes have been taught at different times ; and in 


some, they have assembled in the same schools. This, 
however, has not been general. We have been favoured 
in most of the stations with valuable native teachers, in 
both the male and female schools. To this method of 
instruction we have looked for the perpetuity of the 
work, of which we had been privileged to witness the 
commencement ; and from its influence on the rising 
generation, we have derived encouragement in refer- 
ence to the stability and increase of the Christian 

In the island of Huahine we had, during the latter 
part of our residence there, two district schools, one for 
the males and the other for the females, which we found 
more conducive to their improvement than the method 
of instructing both sexes in the same school. After the 
departure of Mr. Davies, in 1820, the superintendence 
of the schools had devolved entirely on Mr. Barff. The 
female school in Huahine was under the management 
of Mrs. Barff and Mrs. Ellis ; and those at several of the 
other stations were also superintended by the wives of 
the missionaries. 

The habits of the people did not allow of their attend- 
ing school with that regularity which scholars observe 
in England. Many of the pupils, being adults, had other 
engagements. In order, however, to ensure as regular 
and punctual an attendance as possible, the principal 
instruction was given at an early hour every morning, 
that the people might attend the school before engaging 
in their ordinary avocations. The natives, therefore, 
assembled soon after sunrise : Mr. Barff usually repaired 
to the school for the men and boys about half-past six 
o'clock in the morning ; and during the latter part of 
our residence in Huahine, Mrs. Barff and Mrs. Ellis, 
either unitedly or alternately, visited the female school 
at the same hour. It closed in general about eight, after 
which the people repaired to their daily employments. 
The boys' school was open at two o'clock in the after- 
noon, but it was principally for the instruction of chil- 
dren. Many of the adults received instruction more 
readily than the children, and acquired a knowledge of 
reading with much greater facility than persons of the 
same age would do in England. With many, however, 
more advanced in life, it was a difficult task ; and some, 
after two or three years' application, were unable to 
advance beyond the alphabet or the first syllables of the 


spelling-book. Another source of perplexity resulted 
from the injudicious methods of the native teachers, 
who at first, in their zeal to encourage their scholars, 
repeated to them every word in the columns of spelling, 
and lessons, so frequently, that many of their pupils could 
repeat from memory, perhaps, the whoje of the book, 
without being able to read a single line. When they took 
the book, it was only necessary for them to be told the 
first word or sentence in a chapter, in order to their re- 
peating the whole correctly, even though the book 
should be open at some other part, or the page be placed 
bottom upwards. Such individuals did not always Uke 
to go back to the lowest classes ; yet it was necessary. 
In order to convince them of the propriety of this, they 
were told we should only distribute copies of the 
Scriptures to those who could read any part on looking 
at it. 

The native teachers had fallen into this practice from 
the influence of former habits. All their knowledge 
traditions, songs, &c. were preserved by memory ; and 
the preceptor recited them to his pupil till the latter 
could repeat them correctly. The matter of the lessons 
they also thought was the great thing to be remembered ; 
and this, together with a desire to facilitate the advance- 
ment of those under their care, led them to adopt the 
method of teaching the scholars to repeat lessons with- 
out due attention to the words of the book. It has been, 
however, discontinued. 

After the conclusion of the usual school exercises, 
Mr. Barff appropriated half an hour to the instruction 
of the natives in the art of singing. The islanders in 
general are fond of singing, and always ready to learn. 
They have not such sweet melodious voices as the 
natives of Africa have, yet learn to sing, considering 
their circumstances, remarkably well. Many of the 
female voices are clear and soft, without being weak ; 
and they usually perform parts appropriated to the 
female voice better than the men do theirs. 

Translations of the most approved psalms and hymns, 
with a number that are original, have been prepared in 
the native language, in almost every variety of metre. 
To these the most popular English tunes are affixed ; 
and with most of those sung by ordinary congregations 
in England the natives are acquainted. Mr. Davies, I 
believe, first taught them to sing, and a tune usually called 


" George's" was the first they learned. On our arrival 
in the islands in 1817, it was in general use ; and when- 
ever we walked among the habitations of the people, 
some parts of it broke upon the ear. It is now, how- 
ever, very seldom heard. The " Old Hundredth Psalm," 
" Denmark," " Sicilian Mariners," and others of a more 
modern date, are among their greatest favourites. 

The Bible has been the basis of the greater part of 
the instruction given in the schools, but not to the 
exclusion of other departments of knowledge. In addi- 
tion to the various portions of Scripture, and numerous 
tracts that have been printed, a system of arithmetic 
has been prepared by Mr. Davies, and a table of chro- 
nology, which is extensively used ; and, so soon as the 
entire volume of Scripture shall be completed, other 
useful works will be translated. Although a work on 
geography has not yet been printed, many of the natives 
have a tolerably correct idea of the extent, population, 
and relative positions of the most important countries 
of the world. They are fond of calculations, and make 
themselves familiar with figures, so far as their books 
enable them to proceed. The schools are important 
appendages of every missionary station, and are con- 
sidered such by the most intelligent and influential of 
the people. 

As it respects the spiritual improvement of the rising 
generation, the understanding of the Scriptures, and the 
extension of Christianity, Sabbath-schools are the most 
interesting and encouraging sections of this department. 
The scholars are the same as in the day-schools, but 
the mode of instruction pursued is different. Writing, 
reading, and spelling are not taught, but the time is de- 
voted to the religious instruction of the children. Each 
class is under the care of a native instructer, and we 
have in several of the stations been highly favoured in 
the co-operation of valuable Sabbath-school teachers. 
In Huahine we found able assistants among them, espe- 
cially the teachers in the girls' school. They were not 
satisfied with attending during the hours of school, and 
merely imparting the ordinary instruction, or hearing 
the usual recitals, but identified themselves with the 
advancement of the children, and exercised an affection- 
ate care over them during the intervals between the 

By this means they gained the confidence and love 


of many of their pupils, and were resorted to for guid- 
ance and counsel in every engagement of importance or 
difficulty. Frequently one of these teachers, in order 
to greater quietude, and more unreserved converse with 
the children, would take her little class to some retired 
spot in one of the valleys behind the settlement, for the 
purpose of talking in the most affectionate manner to 
each individually, and then uniting with them in prayer 
to the Most High. I cannot imagine a more cheering 
and affecting scene, than must often have been presented, 
when a native Sabbath-school teacher has seated her- 
self on the grass, under the shade of a spreading tree, 
or by the side of a winding stream, and has there 
gathered her little class around her, for the purpose of 
unfolding and impressing on their tender minds the pure 
and sacred precepts of inspired truth ; or has, under 
these circumstances, engaged with them in prayer to 
that God who is not confined to temples made with 
hands, and who regards the sincerity of those who call 
upon him, rather than the circumstances under which 
their petitions are offered. Their delightful labours in 
this department of instruction have not been in vain. 
Several children and young persons who have died have 
left behind them the most consoling and satisfactory 
evidence that they had departed to be with Christ ; and 
others have been at an early age admitted members of 
the Christian church. 

The annual examinations of these schools are among 
the most exhilarating and interesting festivities now 
observed in the islands. They are usually held in the 
chapel, in order to afford accommodation to a greater 
number of persons than could gain admittance to the 
schools. Sometimes the adults are examined as well 
as the children, but in general only the latter. Their 
parents attend, and witness the procedure with great 
satisfaction. An entertainment and a procession usually 
terminate the exercises of the day. The change that 
has taken place has not rendered the people unsocial or 
melancholy, but has introduced to their families, and 
more general intercourse, a degree of cheerfulness and 
reasonable enjoyment unknown before, especially in 
reference to the rising generation. 

One of these anniversaries held at Burder's Point, the 
missionary station in the district of Atehuru, in the year 
1824, was unusually interesting. This district had for- 


merly been distinguished for the turbulent, and warlike 
dispositions of its inhabitants, and the ardour of their 
zeal in the service of their idols — the magnitude of the 
idol temples — the sanguinary cnaracter of their worship 
— and the presence of Oro, the war-god of the South 
Sea islanders. Within the precincts of the missionary 
station, not far from the place of worship, one of the 
great national maraes formerly stood, — where the image 
of Oro had often been kept, where human sacrifices 
were offered, where the inauguration of the last heathen 
king who reigned in Tahiti took place, and where every 
cruelty and every abomination connected with paganism 
had been practiced for ages. After the subversion of 
idolatry, this rnarae was divested of its glory, stripped 
of all its idolatrous appendages, and robbed of its gods, 
while the houses they occupied were committed to the 
flames. Still the massy pile of solid stonework, con- 
stituting one end of the area which the marae included, 
remained in a state of partial dilapidation — an imposing 
monument of the hau riaria, reign of terror, as they de- 
nominated idolatry. The natives were, however, deter- 
mined to remove even this vestige of the system of 
which they so long had been the vassals, and therefore 
levelled for this occasion the extensive pile, and with 
the materials formed a spacious sulid platform, measur- 
ing three feet high, one hundred and ninety-four feet 
long, and one hundred and fifty-seven feet wide ; the 
whole surrounded with a stone wall cemented with lime. 
Here a festival was held on the 11th of June, 1824. 
Upon this platform ninety tables were prepared, after 
the manner of preparation for a feast, in England. Seats, 
usually native-made sofas or chairs, were arranged 
along the sides of the tables, and all the children in the 
school, about two hundred and forty, dined together. 

The missionaries and many of" the parents of the 
children were present — delighted to witness the cheer- 
fulness of the boys and the girls, as they sat together 
and unitedly partook of the bounties of Providence. 
Mr. Darling, the indefatigable missionary of the station, 
remarks, " This was on the very spot where Satan's 
throne stood, and where, a few years ago, if a female 
had eaten but a mouthful, so sacred v/as the place con- 
sidered, she would have been put to death." What 
a spectacle of loveliness and peace must the platform 
have on this day exhibited, when compared with the 

Vol. II.— L 


scenes of abomination, absurdity, and cruelty that had 
often been presented, when the very materials of which 
it was composed had formed part of an idolatrous temple. 
The children afterward walked in procession through 
the settlement, halted at each of the extremities, sang 
a hymn, and then repaired to the chapel, where a suit- 
able address was delivered to them by the pastor. These 
annual examinations and festivals are not peculiar to 
Bunaauia, but are instituted in several other stations of 
the Georgian group. 

In the leeward or Society Islands the remembrance 
of these exercises is among the most pleasing recol- 
lections I retain of my intercourse with the people. In 
Huahine they are usually held at the close of the public 
services connected with the missionary anniversaries. 

On the 11th of May, 1821, a large chapel was nearly 
filled with spectators. The school contained four or 
five hundred children. Several from each class were 
examined, and manifested that they had been neither 
indolent nor careless. I beheld, with no common inter- 
est, a number of fine, healthy, and sprightly-looking 
children on that occasion assembled together, and saw 
a little boy, seven or eight years of age, with a little 
fringed mat wound round his waist, and a light scarf 
thrown over the shoulder, stand upon a form and repeat 
aloud two or three chapters of one of the gospels, 
answer a variety of questions, and pass through the 
whole of his examination with scarcely a single mistake. 
This was the case with several on that occasion. At 
the close of the examination the children were rewarded 
by Mr. Barff, who, on delivering the presents, which 
were different books in the native language, accompanied 
each by a suitable remark to the favoured proprietor. 
Often, as the little boy has walked hack to the seat 
with his prize — perhaps a copy of one of the gospels — 
I have seen the mother's eye follow the child beaming 
■with all a parent's emotion, while the tear of pleasure 
has sparkled there ; and, in striking contrast with this, 
the childless mother might be seen weeping at the 
recollection of the infants which, under the influence 
of idolatry, she had destroyed — and which, but for her 
own murderous hands, might have mingled in the throng 
she then beheld before her. On the occasion above 
alluded to, when the examinations in the place of wor- 
ship had terminated, the children walked, in the same 


order in which they were accustomed to proceed from 
the school to the chapel, to a rising ground in the 
vicinity of the governor's house. Here an entertain- 
ment had been provided for them by the chiefs. We 
followed, amid the multitude of taeir parents and friends ; 
and, on reaching the place of assemblage, beheld about 
three hundred boys sitting in classes on the grass on the 
right-hand side of the rising ground, each teacher pre- 
siding at the head of his class. On the left-hand, about 
two hundred girls were arranged in the same manner. 
A plentiful repast hrtd been prepared, which was carved, 
and handed to them as they sat upon the green turf. In 
the centre tables were spread for the chiefs, and the 
parents and friends of the children : we sat down with 
them, gratified with their hospitality, but deriving far 
more pleasure from gazing on the spectacle on either 
side than in partaking of the provision. Before the 
assembly departed, 1 gave a short address to the parents, 
teachers, and children. When I concluded, they all 
stood up ; the boys formed a circle on one side, and the 
girls on the other, and sang alternately the verses of a 
hymn in the native language ; after which, one of the 
teachers offered a short prayer, and we retired, under 
the influence of emotions of satisfaction ; but it was not 
easy to say whether joy was most powerfully exhibited 
in the countenances of the children or their parents. 

Towards the evening of the day, the children walked 
two and two, hand in hand, from one end of the settle- 
ment to the other, preceded by the flag belonging to the 
schools. The best boy in school carried the flag ; 
which was not of silk emblazoned with letters of gold, 
but of less costly materials. The banners of the schools 
attached to the different stations were various ; some 
of white native cloth, with the word " Hosanna" im- 
pressed upou it in scarlet die ; another was of light but 
woven cloth, with the following sentiment inscribed 
upon it, la ora te hid arii e ia maoro teienei hau, " Life and 
blessing to the reigning family, and long be this peace- 
ful reign !" The on? at Huahine was of blue cloth, with 
a white dove and olive-branch in the centre, beneath 
which was inscribed the angel's son?, as the motto of 
the school.* Sometimes the children, as they passed 
along, would sing, " Long be this peaceful reign," or 

* Luke ii. 14. 


any other motto that might be inscribed upon the banner. 
And when they walked through the district, a father or 
mother, or both, have been seen coming from the door 
of their cottages, gazing with pleasure on them as they 
passed by, walking beside them, or following them with 
their eye until some clump of trees, or winding in the 
road, hid them from their view. 

The meeting at Raiatea in the year 1824 was deeply 
affecting. It was held on a kind of pier or quay built in 
the sea. Six hundred children assembled to partake of 
the feast thefr parents had provided. The boys after- 
ward delivered public addresses. A religious service 
in the chapel closed the exercises of the day, and all 
retired to their respective homes, apparently delighted. 
Mr. Williams, in reference to this interesting spectacle, 
questions whether, but for the influence of Christianity, 
one-third of the children would have been in existence, 
and states his opinion that they would not, and that 
" the hands of their mothers would have been imbrued in 
their blood.'''' This was not a groundless opinion, but an 
inference authorized by the most melancholy but un- 
questionable facts. At a former meeting held on the 
spot where the chapel stood, in which the children were 
examined, he was present. A venerable chief arose, and 
addressed the assembly with impressive action, and 
strongly excited feeling. Comparing the past with the 
present state of the people, he said, " I was a mighty 
chief; the spot on which we are now assembled was 
by me made sacred for myself and family; large was 
my family, but I alone remain ; all have died in the ser- 
vice of Satan — they knew not this good word which I 
am spared to see ; my heart is longing for them, and 
often says within me, Oh ! that they had not died so 
soon : great are my crimes ; I am the father of nineteen 
children ; all of them I have murdered — now my heart 
lomjs for them. — Had they been spared, they would 
have been men and women — learning and knowing the 
word of the true God. But while I was thus destroying 
them, no one, not even my own cousin (pointing to 
Tamatoa, the king, who presided at the meeting), stayed 
my hand, or said, Spare them. No one said, The good 
word, the true word is coming, spare your children; 
and now my heart is repenting — is weeping for them !" 



Voyage to Raiatea — Landing at Tipaemau— Description of the islands — Arri- 
val at Va6aara — Singular reception— Native salutations— Improvement of 
the settlement — General state of society — Former modes of living — Proposed 
improvement in the native dwellings — Method of procuring lime from ihe 
coral-rock— First plastered house in the South Sea islands— Progress of 
improvement — Irregularity of the buddings— Public road — Effect on the 
surrounding country — Duration of native habitaiions — building lor public 
worship— Division of public labour— Manner of fitting up the interior — 
Satisfaction of the people— Chapel in Raiatea— Native chandeliers— Evening 

During the first years of our establishment in Hua- 
hine, frequent voyages to the adjacent islands were ne- 
cessary; and early in 1819 circumstances rendered it 
expedient that we should revisit Raiatea. As we ex- 
pected to be absent for several weeks, Mrs. Barff and 
Mrs. Ellis accompanied us ; Mr. Orsmond, who had 
visited Huahine, was returning- to his station, and we 
embarked in his boat, although it was scarcely large 
enough to contain our party and half a dozen native 
rowers. The morning on which we sailed was fine ; 
the sea gently rippled with the freshening breeze, which 
was fair and steady without being violent. Our voyage 
was pleasant ; and soon after two in the afternoon of 
the same day we entered an opening in the reef a few 
miles to the northward of that leading to Opoa. This 
entrance is called by the inhabitants Tipae matt, True, 
or permanent, landing (place). 

We landed on one of the small islets which define, 
shelter, and adorn the entrance to the harbour, partook 
of some refreshment under the shade the brushwood 
afforded, while our boat's crew climbed the trees, and 
afterward made an agreeable repast on the nuts which 
they gathered. We planted, as memorials of our visit, 
the seeds of some large oranges which we had brought 
with us, then launched our boat, and prosecuted our 
voyage within the reef towards the settlement on the 
other side of the island. This part of our voyage, for 
twelve or fourteen miles, was delightful. The beauty 
of the wooded or rocky shores now appeared more rich 
and varied than before ; the stillness of the smooth 


waters around was only occasional^ disturbed by the 
passage of a light nautilus-like canoe, witii its little sail 
of white native cloth, or the rapid flight of a shoal of 
flying-fish, which, when the dashing of our oars or 
the progress of our boat intercepted their course, or 
awakened their alarm, sprang from their native element, 
and darted along three or four feet above the water. 

Ioretea, the Ulitea of Captain Cook, ov, as it is now 
more frequently called by the natives, Raiatea, is the 
largest of the Society Islands. Its form is somewhat 
triangular, and its circumference about fifty miles. 
The mountains are more stupendous and lofty than those 
of Huahine, and in some parts equally broken and pic- 
turesque. The northern and western sides are roman- 
tic ; several pyramidal and conical mountains rising 
above the elevated and broken range that stretches along 
in a direction nearly parallel with the coast, and from 
one to three miles distant from the sea. Though the 
shore is generally a gradual and waving ascent from 
the water's edge to the mountain, it is frequently rocky 
and broken. At Mahapoto, about half-way between 
Opoa, the site of their principal temple, the ancient resi- 
dence of the reigning family, and TJtumaoro at the 
north-east angle of the island, there is a deep indenta- 
tion in the coast. The rocks rise nearly perpendicular 
in some places on both sides, and the smooth surface 
of the ocean extends a mile and a half or two miles to- 
wards the mountains. The shores of this sequestered 
bay are covered with sand, shells, and broken coral. At 
the openings of several of the little glens which surround 
it, the cottages of the natives are seen through the lux- 
uriant foliage of the pandanus, or the purau ; while the 
cultivated plantations in various parts extend from the 
margin of the sea to the foot of the mountains. The 
rivers that flow along their rocky courses from the head 
of the ravines to the ocean below — and the distant 
mountains that rise in the interior — comhine to form, 
though on a limited scale, rich, romantic, and beautiful 
landscapes. The islands in general are well supplied 
with water. The mountains are sufficiently elevated 
to intercept the clouds that are wafted by the trade- 
winds over the Pacific ; being clothed with verdure to 
their very summits, while they attract the moisture, 
they also prevent its evaporation. Most of the rivers 
or streams rise in the mountainous parts, and though, 


from the peculiar structure of these parts, and the cir- 
cumscribed extent of the islands, the distance from 
their source to their union with the sea is short ; yet 
the body of water is often considerable, and the uneven 
ground through which they have cut their way, the rocky 
projections that frequently divide the streams, and the 
falls that occur between the interior and the shore, cause 
the rivers to impart a charming freshness, vivacity, and 
splendour to the inland scenery. 

Next to Tahiti, Raiatea perhaps is better supplied with 
rivers, or streams of excellent water, than any other 
island of the group. Its lowland is extensive, and the 
valleys, capable of the highest cultivation, are spacious, 
and conveniently situated for affording to the inhabitants 
intercourse with other parts of the island. On the 
north-west is a small but very secure harbour, called 
Hamaniino. Most of the ships formerly visiting Raiatea 
anchored in this convenient and sequestered harbour. 
Such vessels usually entered the reefs that surround the 
two islands, either at the opening called Teavapiti, a 
little to the southward of Utumaoro, or at that denomi- 
nated Tomahahotu, opposite the south end of the island 
of Tahaa. They then proceeded within the reefs along 
the channel between the islands to the harbour. 

Water and wood were at all times procured with 
facility from the adjacent shore ; and supplies of stock, 
poultry, and vegetables might generally be obtained by 
barter with the inhabitants. The mountains of the in- 
terior sheltered the bay from the strong eastern and 
southerly winds ; and the wide opening in the reef op- 
posite the mouth of the valley forming the head of the 
bay favoured the departure of vessels with the ordinary 
winds. A small and partially wooded island on the 
north side of the opening in the reefs opposite the har- 
bour distinctly points out the passage, and is very ser- 
viceable to ships going to sea. A few miles beyond the 
harbour of Hamaniino, Vaoaara is situated, which was 
the former missionary station, the residence of the 
chiefs and principal part of the population. There are 
two open bays on the east side of the island, Opoa and 
Utumaoro. They were occasionally visited by ship- 
ping ; and the latter has since the removal of the mis- 
sionary station become the general place of anchorage. 
But although they are secured from heavy waves by the 
reefs of coral that stretch along the eastern shore, they 


are exposed to the prevailing winds, excepting so far as 
they are sheltered by the islands at the entrance from 
the sea. 

There are no lakes in Raiatea or Tahaa, but both 
islands are encircled in one reef, which is in some parts 
attached to their shores, and in others rises to the 
water's edge at the distance of two or three miles from 
it. The water within the reefs is as smootli as the 
surface of a lake in a pleasure-ground, though often 
from eighteen to thirty fathoms deep. The coral reefs 
form natural and beautiful breakwaters, preserving the 
lowland and the yielding soil of the adjacent shore from 
the force and encroachment of the heavy billows of the 
ocean. Numbers of verdant little islands, situated like 
those of Tipaemau at the openings in the reef, are re- 
markably useful as sea-marks, and furnish convenient 
temporary residences for the fishermen, who resort to 
them during the season for taking the operu, scomber 
scomber of Linnaeus, and other fish periodically visiting 
their shores. Here they dry and repair their nets while 
watching the approach of the shoals, and find them re- 
markably advantageous in prosecuting the most import- 
ant of their fisheries. 

The sun had nearly set when we reached the settle- 
ment at Vaoaara. As we approached the shore, crowds 
of the natives who had recognised some of our party 
came off to meet us, wading into the sea above their 
waist in order to welcome our arrival. While gazing on 
the motley group that surrounded our boat, or thronged 
the adjacent shore, and exchanging our salutations with 
those nearest us, before we were aware of their design, 
upwards of twenty stout men actually lifted our boat 
out of the water, and raised it on their shoulders, carry- 
ing us thus elevated in the air amid the shouts of the 
bearers and the acclamations of the multitude on the 
shore, first to the beach, and then to the large court- 
yard in front of the king's house, where, after experi- 
encing no small apprehension from tins unusual mode 
of conveyance, we were set down safe upon the pave- 
ment. Here we experienced a hearty welcome from 
the chiefs and people. Their salutations were cordial, 
though unaccompanied by the observances that were 
formerly regarded as indispensable. Considering the 
islanders as an uncivilized people, they seem to have 
been remarkably ceremonious. This peculiarity appears 


to have accompanied them to the temples, to have dis- 
tinguished the homage and the service they rendered to 
their gods, to have marked their affairs of state, and the 
carriage of the people towards their rulers, to have per- 
vaded the whole of their social intercourse, and to have 
been mingled with their diversified amusements. Their 
salutations were often exceedingly ceremonious. When 
a chieftain from another island or from any distant part 
arrived, he seldom proceeded at once to the shore, but 
usually lauded in the first instance on some of the small 
islands near. The king often attended in person to wel- 
come his guest, or, if unable to do this himself, sent one 
of his principal chiefs. 

When the canoes of the visiter approached the shore, 
the chiefs assembled on the beach. Long orations were 
pronounced by both parties before the guests stepped 
on the soil : as soon as they were landed, a kind of 
circle was formed by the people ; the king or chiefs on 
the one side, and the strangers on the other ; the latter 
brought their marotai, or offering, to the king and the 
gods, and accompanied its presentation with an address, 
expressive of the friendship existing between them : 
the priest or orators of the king then brought the pres- 
ents, or manufaiti, bird of recognition. On some occa- 
sions, two young plantain-trees and two pigs, or other 
articles of value, were first presented by the strangers, 
one for te atua, the god, the other for f.e hoa, the friend. 
A plantain-tree and a pig were brought by the residents 
for the king, a similar ottering for the god ; this was fol- 
lowed by a plantain and a pig for the toe moe, perhaps 
sleeping hatchet. A plantain-tree and a dog were then 
brought for the taura, the cord or bond of union, and 
then a plantain and a pig for the friend.* 

In some of their ceremonies, a plantain-tree was sub- 
stituted for a man ; and in the first plantain-trees offered 
in this ceremony to the god and the friend they might 
perhaps be so regarded. Considerable ceremony at- 
tended the reception of a company of Areois. When 
they approached a village or district, the inhabitants 
came out of their doors, and, greeting them, shouted 
Manava, Manava, long before they reached the place. 
They usually answered, Teie, " Here," and so proceeded 
to the rendezvous appointed, where a present was given 
to the king, and a similar offering to the god. 

* Forster's Voyage, vol. i. 375. 



Our mode of saluting by merely shaking hands they 
consider remarkably ccld and formal. They usually 
fell upon each other's necks, and tauahi, or embraced 
each other, and saluted by touching or rubbing noses. 
This appears to be the common mode of welcoming a 
friend, practised by all the inhabitants of the Pacific. 
It also prevails among the natives of Madagascar. 
During my visit to New-Zealand, I was several times 
greeted in this manner by chiefs, whose tattooed coun- 
tenances and ferocious appearance were bur little adapted 
to predispose for so close a contact. This method of 
saluting is called by the New-Zealanders Ho-gni, Honi 
by the Sandwich islanders, and Hoi by the Tahitians. 
In connexion with this, the custom of cutting them- 
selves with sharks' teeth, and indulging in loud wailing, 
was a singular method of receiving a friend, or testify- 
ing gladness at his arrival ; it was, however, very gen- 
eral when Europeans first arrived. 

In the court-yard of the king we were met by our 
friends Messrs. Williams and Threlkeld, in whose so- 
ciety we spent about fourteen days, and who, consider- 
ing the short time they had been among the people, had 
been the means of producing an astonishing change, not 
only in their habits and appearance, but even in the 
natural face of the district. A carpenter's shop had 
been erected, the forge was daily worked by the natives, 
neat cottages were rising in several directions, and a 
large place of worship was building. The wilderness 
around was cleared to a considerable extent ; the inhab- 
itants of other parts were repairing to Vaoaara, and 
erecting their habitations, that they might reap the ad- 
vantage of instruction. A large school was in daily 
operation, and a numerous and attentive congregation 
met for public worship in the native chapel every Sab- 
bath. Having adjusted our public arrangements, we 
returned to Huahine in the Haweis, in which Messrs. 
Barff, Williams, and myself proceeded to Tahiti. 

The change which had taken place in Tahiti and 
Eimeo, in consequence of the abolition of idol-worship, 
had been exceedingly gratifying, as it regarded the gen- 
eral conduct of the people, their professed belief in the 
truth of revelation, and their desire to regulate their 
lives by its injunctions ; but the visible change which 
resulted from the establishment of the missions in Hua- 
hine and Raiatea was more striking, and did not fail to 


attract the notice and command the approbation of the 
most superficial observer. 

We did not deem what is usually termed civilization 
essential to their receiving the forgiveness of sin, enjoy- 
ing the favour of God, exercising faith in Christ, and 
being after death admitted to the heavenly state ; yet 
we considered an improvement of their circumstances 
and a change in their occupations necessary to their 
consistent profession of Christianity, and the best means 
of counteracting that inveterate love of indolence to 
which from infancy they had been accustomed. Habits 
of application were also essential to the cultivation of 
intellect, the increase of knowledge, and enjoyment in 
the present life. This was peculiarly desirable in refer- 
ence to the rising generation, who were to be the future 
population, and who would arrive at years of maturity 
under circumstances and principles as opposite as light 
and darkness to those under which their parents had 
been reared. Under these impressions, those who were 
stationed in the leeward islands, next to religious in- 
struction, directed their attention to the promotion of 
industry among the people, and the improvement of their 
temporal condition. We had already persuaded them 
to extend the culture of the soil beyond the growth of 
the articles necessary for their support during the season 
when the bread-fruit yielded no supply, and to raise 
cotton t.nd productions, which they might exchange for 
clothing, tools, &c. We now directed them to the im- 
provement of their dwellings, which, generally speak- 
ing, were temporary sheds, or wide unpartitioned build- 
ings, by no means favourable to domestic comfort or 
Christian decency. 

When we landed at Fa-re, in Huahine, I do not think 
there were more than tenor twelve houses in the whole 
district. Four, besides those we occupied, were of con- 
siderable size, belonging to the chiefs ; the others were 
mere huts. In the latter the inmates took their food, 
and rested on their mats spread upon the floor, which, had 
it been simply of earth, would have been comparatively 
clean and comfortable. The temporary roof of thatch 
was often pervious to the rays of the sun, and the drops 
of the frequently descending shower. In these cabins 
parents, children, dogs, and frequently pigs and fowls, 
passed the night, and the greater part of the day. The 
liouses of the chiefs were better built, and more capa- 


cious ; the roofs generally impervious, and the sides 
frequently enclosed with straight white poles of the 
hibiscus-tree. Their interior, however, was but little 
adapted to promote domestic comfort. The earthen 
floor was usually covered with Jong grass. This, by 
being repeatedly trodden under foot, became dry, broken, 
and filled with dust, furnishing also a resort for vermin, 
which generally swarmed the floors in such numbers 
as to become intolerable. In these houses the people 
took their meals, sitting in circles on the grass-spread 
floor. Here the fresh water used in washing their 
hands, the cocoanut-water, which was their frequent 
beverage, and the sea-water in which they dipped their 
food, was often spilt. Moisture induced decay; and 
although over these parts of the floor they often spread 
a little fresh grass, yet many places in the native houses 
frequently resembled a stable, or a stable-yard, more 
than a suitable dwelling-place for human beings. 

In the drier parts of the house, along each side, the 
inmates slept at night. However large the building 
might be, there were no partitions or screens. Some 
of their houses were two hundred feet long; and on the 
floor hundreds have at times lain down promiscuously 
to sleep. They slept on mats manufactured with pahn- 
leaves spread on the ground. These mats were gene- 
rally rolled up like a sailor's hammock in the morning, 
and spread out at night. The chief and his wife usually 
slept at one end of the house, without the least partition 
between them and the other inmates of their dwelling. 
Instead of a single mat, three or four, or even ten, were 
sometimes spread one upon the other, to give elevation 
and softness; and this, with the finer texture of the 
mats, was the only difference between the bed of the 
chief and that on which Me meanest of his dependants 
slept. Instead of being spread on the floor, the mats 
were sometimes spread on a low bedstead, raised nine or 
twelve inches above the floor. The sides and bottom 
of this bedstead were made with the boards of the bread- 
fruit tree. Next to the chief, the members of his own 
family spread their mats on the floor, and then the friends 
and attendants — the females nearest the chief, the men 
towards the opposite end of the building. 

I have sometimes entered the large houses in Hua- 
hine, soon after our arrival there, and have seen, 1 think, 
forty, fifty, or sixty sleeping-places of this kind in one 


house, consisting of a mat spread on the ground, a 
wooden pillow or bolster, in the shape of a low stool, 
next the side or wall ; and a large thick piece of cloth, 
like a counterpane or shawl, which they call ahu taolo, 
sleeping-cloth, and which is their only covering, lying 
in the middle of each mat. There was no division or 
screen between the sleeping-places, but the whole 
ranged along in parallel lines from one end of the house 
to the other. What the state of morals must neces- 
sarily have been among such a community it is unne- 
cessary to show ; yet such were the modes of life that 
prevailed among many, even after they had renounced 
idolatry. Such we found society in Huahine, and such 
our friends in Raiatea found it there. One of the rea- 
sons which they gave why so many slept in a house 
was, their constant apprehensions of evil spirits, which 
were supposed to wander about at night, and grasp or 
strangle the objects of their displeasure, if found alone. 
Great numbers passing the night under the same roof 
removed this fear, and inspired a confidence of security 
from the attacks their idolatrous absurdities led them 
to expect. 

The evils necessarily resulting from these habits were 
too palpable to allow us to delay attempting an altera- 
tion. We recommended each family to build distinct 
and comfortable cottages for themselves, and the chiefs 
to partition bed-rooms in their present dwellings, in 
which they must reside while building others ; even in 
these we recommended them to reduce the number of 
their inmates, and to erect distinct sleeping rooms for 
those they retained. 

We were happy to perceive on their part a willing- 
ness to follow our advice. The first native improve- 
ment was made by Mai, the chief of Borabora, residing 
at that time at Fa-re, in Huahine ; and we believe this 
was at the request of his daughter. He directed his 
servants to clear out all the grass from the floor of the 
house he occupied ; they then levelled the earth, pro- 
cured lime, and plastered it over nearly an inch thick 
with mortar; this hardened and formed an excellent, 
solid, durable, and clean floor. With this material we 
had made the floors of our own temporary dwellings, in 
which we had erected slight partitions of poles, covered 
with thick native cloth, to separate the different apart- 
ments from each other. In this also we soon perceived 


the chiefs promptly following our example. At the 
same time we commenced the erection of permanent 
places of residence for ourselves, and spared no pains 
to induce the people to do the same. Our first effort 
was to build a limekiln, on which we bestowed con- 
siderable labour, though it did not ultimately answer. 
The natives prepared their lime by burning it in a large 
pit, in a manner resembling that in which they had pre- 
pared their ovens for opio. This was done with greater 
facility than they could burn it in the kiln they had built, 
though with less economy in fuel. 

Specimens of fibrous limestone and small fragments 
of calcareous rock have been occasionally found in some 
of the islands, but not in quantity or kind to be available 
in the preparation of lime for building. Shells might 
be procured in tolerable abundance ; but the white coral 
rock, of which the extensive reefs surrounding these 
islands are composed, and which appears inexhaustible, 
is used in the manufacture of lime. 

The natives dive into the sea, sometimes several 
fathoms deep, in order to procure the solid or sponge- 
shaped coral, which for this purpose is better than the 
forked or branching kinds. They also prefer that which 
is attached to the main reef, and growing, or, as they 
sometimes call it, live coral, to that which is broken off 
and hardened or dead. The large fragments or blocks 
of coral, sometimes three or four feet in diameter, are 
conveyed on rafts to the shore, where they are broken 
into small pieces. A capacious hole is then dug, wherein 
fuel in immense logs is piled up till it assumes the ap- 
pearance of a mound four or five feet high. On the out- 
side of this the pieces of coral are placed, twelve or 
eighteen inches thick. The pile is then kindled, the 
fuel consumed, and the lime thus burnt sinks into the 
pit. They are generally so impatient to see whether it 
is well burnt, that they throw water upon it often before 
the fire is extinct ; and if they find it crumble and be- 
come pulverized, they cover it over with cocoanut- 
leaves, and use it as occasion requires. 

The coral-rock makes excellent lime ; not perhaps so 
strong as that made from rock-limestone, but fine, beau- 
tifully white, and durable. It may be obtained in any 
quantity, but the labour of procuring the fuel necessary 
for preparing it on the present plan is exceedingly irk- 
some. Could they be induced to erect kilns, and burn 


it after the European manner, it might be furnished with 
great facility, and the fact of their being able to prepare 
with little trouble lime from the coral rock would en- 
courage them in building comfortable houses. 

Our friends in Raiatea were perhaps more urgent than 
ourselves in their recommendation of improved dwell- 
ings. On our first visit to Raiatea, in January, 1819, the 
servants of Tamatoa, the king of that island, were plas- 
tering a house for his residence : it was nearly finished ; 
the outside was completed, and they were at work 
within. A day or two after our return to Huahine, we 
were delighted to see one in the district of Fa-re ac- 
tually finished. It was smaller than Tamatoa's, and 
differently shaped — his being oval, and this being nearly 
square, with high gable-ends. It belonged to an inge- 
nious and industrious young man, whose name was Nave- 
navehia, and who, although an inferior chief in Huahine, 
had accompanied Mahine to Eimeo, where he had re- 
sided in the family of Mr. George Bicknell, by whom 
he had been taught the use of tools and the art of burn- 
ing lime. It is not easy, nor is it material, to determine 
which of these two houses was finished first. They 
were certainly both in hand at the same time, and the 
periods of their completion were probably not very re- 
mote from each other. A new order of architecture 
was thus introduced to the nation, and the names of 
Tamatoa, king of Raiatea, and of Navenavehia, the 
more humble chief in Huahine, ought not to be forgotten 
in connexion with the introduction of a style of building 
which has since prevailed extensively among the people, 
augmenting their social and domestic comforts, chan- 
ging the appearance of their villages, and improving the 
beautiful scenery of their islands. 

These two houses were not only the first in the lee- 
ward group, but they were the first of the kind ever 
erected, for their own abode, by any of the natives of 
the South Sea islands. 

The success of these individuals encouraged others, 
although we found great difficulty in persuading them to 
persevere in the labour this improvement required, par- 
ticularly as they were now employed in the erection of 
a spacious chapel, and the frames of our dwellings. It 
was no easy task for them to build houses of this kind : 
there were no regular carpenters and masons. Every 
man had, in the first place, to go to the woods or the 


mountains, and cut down trees for timber, shape tin m 
into posts, &c, and remove them to the spot where his 
house was to be built, then to erect the frame, with 
the doorway and windows. This being done, he must 
again repair to the woods for long branches of hibiscus 
for rafters, with which he framed the roof. 

The leaves of the pandanus were next gathered, and 
soaked, and sewed on reeds, with which the roof was 
thatched. This formerly would have completed his 
dwelling, but he now had to collect with great labour 
a large pile of firewood, to dig a pit, to dive into the 
sea for coral rock, to burn it, to mix it with sand so as 
to form mortar, wattle the walls and partitions of his 
house, and plaster them with lime. He then had to 
ascend the mountains again for trees, which he must 
either split or saw into boards for flooring his apart- 
ments, manufacturing doors, windows, shutters, &c. 
This was certainly a great addition of labour ; and 
hence many occupy their cottages as soon as they have 
finished the roof, the walls, and the door — levelling the 
ground for the floor, and spreading grass over it — 
occupying one part, while they board or plaster the 

In this state we found Navenavehia's house, when 
we paid him our first visit. We recommended him to 
persevere in completing it, and in order to encourage 
him, promised him nails to make doors, and whatever 
else was wanting. He assured us of his intention to 
board the floor, and partition off their bed-room ; but 
said he thought they might as well live in it while he 
was doing this, and therefore had occupied it as soon 
as the walls were dry. 

The settlements in the leeward islands now began 
to assume a new aspect. Multitudes flocked from the 
different districts to attend the means of instruction in 
the school, and on the Sabbath. The erection of a 
house upon the improved plan, regulating its size by 
the rank or means of the family for whom it was de- 
signed, became a kind of test of sincerity in profes- 
sions of desire to be instructed ; for, to embrace Chris- 
tianity, with the precepts which it inculcated, nothing 
could be more at variance than the habits of indolence 
and unsightly filthiness of their former habitations. 

Activity was now the order of the day. Frames of 
buildings were seen rising with astonishing rapidity in 


every part of the district, and houses of every size, 
from the lowly snug little cottage with a single door 
and window in front, to the large two-storied dwelling 
of the king or the chief. Buildings, also, in every stage 
of their progress, might be seen in a walk through the 
settlement : sometimes only a heap of spars and timber 
lay on the spot where the house was to be raised, but 
at other places the principal posts of the houses were 
erected, others were thatched, and some partially or 
entirely enclosed with the beautiful white coral-lime 
plaster. Axes, hatchets, planes, chisels, gimlets, and 
saws were, next to their books, the articles in greatest 
demand and highest esteem. 

No small portion of our time was occupied in direct- 
ing and encouraging them in their labours. We had, 
however, occasion to regret that we were sometimes 
at as great a loss as the people themselves. They 
usually formed the walls of their dwellings either by 
mortising upright posts into large trees laid on the 
earth, or planting the posts in the ground about three 
feet apart. The spaces between the posts, excepting 
those for doors or windows, were filled with a kind of 
hurdle-work, or wattling of small rods or sticks, of the 
tough casuarina. This they plastered with the mortar, 
forming a plain surface, and covering also the posts on 
the outside, but leaving them projecting within. 

The next object was to make the doors and window- 
shutters: thus far they had been able to proceed in the 
erection of their dwellings without nails ; but to make 
doors and shutters without these brought them at first 
to a stand. We were glad to furnish the chiefs and 
others with these most valuable articles, so far as our 
stock would allow, but it was useless to think of sup- 
plying the wants of the entire population ; we only 
regretted that we could not have more ready access to 
our friends in England, many of whom, we had no 
doubt, would readily have supplied them with an article 
easily procured in abundance there, but here exceedingly 
scarce. Nails are still among the most valuable manu- 
factures they can receive. 

Their invention and perseverance at length overcame 
the difficulty, and they constructed their doors by fast- 
ening together three upright boards, about six feet long, 
by means of three narrow pieces across, one at each 
end, the other in the middle. These latter were fast- 


ened to the long boards by strong wooden pegs. What 
the pegs wanted in strength they determined to supply 
by numbers, and I think I have seen upwards of fifty 
or sixty hard pegs driven through one of these cross- 
pieces into the boards forming the door. In order to 
prevent their dropping out when the wood shrank by 
the heat, they drove small wedges into the ends of the 
pegs, which frequently kept them secure. In the same 
manner they fastened most of their floors to the 
sleepers underneath, using, however, large pegs resem- 
bling the tree-nails in a ship's plank, more than the nails 
in a house floor. 

When the door was made, it was necessary to hang 
it ; but only a few of the chiefs were, for many years, 
able to procure iron hinges. Some substituted tough 
pieces of fish-skin, pieces of the skin of other animals, 
or leather procured from the ships; but these soon 
broke, and many of the natives set to work to make 
wooden hinges. They were generally large, and when 
attached to a light thin door, looked remarkably clumsy : 
but they were made with great industry and care, and 
the joints very neatly fitted. A man would sometimes 
be a fortnight in making a single pair of hinges. After 
all they were easily broken, and made a most unplea- 
sant noise every time the door was opened or shut. 

In our walks through the native settlements, we 
were often amused at the state in which we found 
the houses occupied by their proprietors. S<-tr.e 
appeared with only the walls on the outside plas- 
tered, others with both sides plastered; some having 
their doors and window-shutters fixed, others with a 
low fence only across the door- way ; some with grass 
spread over the whole floor, while others had a portion 
boarded sufficiently large to contain their sleeping- 
mats at night. A few, whose dwellings were com- 
pletely finished, inhabited them with all the conscious 
satisfaction attending the enjoyment of what had cost 
them great and persevering labour. All confessed that 
the new kind of houses were better than the old ; that 
when the weather was warm, they could have as much 
air as was agreeable : and when the night was cold and 
the wind high, or the rain drifting, they had not, as 
formerly, to rise and move their beds, or secure their 
clothing from wet, but could sleep on, sheltered from 
the elements without. 

captain gambier's testimonv. 259 

This was the state of the settlement in Huahine 
when visited by Captain Gambier, of H. M. ship Daunt- 
less, Captain Elliott, and other naval officers, whom I 
had the pleasure of meeting there. The account of 
the settlement given by the former, and the emotions 
excited in his own mind by his visit, are so interesting, 
that I think it would be almost unjust to deprive the 
readers of these pages of the satisfaction his descrip- 
tion is adapted to afford. 

In reference to Tahiti, and the change generally, 
Captain Gambier observes — " The testimony is a strong 
one : as I had never felt any interest in the labours 
of missionaries, I was not only not prepossessed in 
favour of them, but I was in a measure suspicious of 
their reports. It will appear as clear as light to the 
spiritual mind, that the account of their state, and the 
gratification experienced in the contemplation of it, 
was altogether of a temporal nature ; that the progress 
made towards civilization and earthly happiness, in 
consequence of the moral influence of Christianity, 
was the cause of that delight. The hand of a super- 
intending Providence is generally acknowledged, it is 
true, but it is so only with respect to the temporal state. 
So true it is, that the mind itself, untaught by the Divine 
Spirit, knows nothing of the awful and overwhelming 
importance of the eternal interests of the soul over the 
things of this short-lived scene.''' 

In reference to Huahine, and the station now de- 
scribed, though not more forward than others in the 
same group, Captain Gambier observes — " At about 10 
o'clock on the morning of the 20th of January, 18-22, 
the ship being hove-to outside the reef, a party of us 
proceeded towards the village of Fa-re. After passing 
the reef of coral which forms the harbour, astonish- 
ment and delight kept us silent for some moments, and 
was succeeded by a burst of unqualified approbation of 
the scene before us. We were in an excellent harbour, 
upon whose shores industry and comfort were plainly 
perceptible ; for in every direction white cottages, pre- 
cisely English, were seen peeping from among the rich 
foliage ; which everywhere clothes the lowland in 
these islands. Upon various little elevations beyond 
these were others, which gave extent and anima- 
tion to the whole. The point on the left, in going 
in, is low, and covered with wood, with several cottages 


along the shore.* On the right, the highland of the 
interior slopes down with gentle gradual descent, and 
terminates in an elevated point, which juts out into the 
harbour, forming two little bays. The principal and 
largest is to the left, viewing them from seaward ; in 
this, and extending up the valley, the village is situated. 
The other, which is small, has only a few houses — but 
so quiet, so retired, that it seems the abode of peace 
and perfect content. Industry flourishes here. The 
chiefs take a pride in building their own houses, which 
are now all after the European manner ; and think 
meanly of themselves if they do not excel the lower 
classes in the arts necessary for the construction. 
Their wives also surpass their inferiors in making 
cloth. The queen and her daughter-in-law, dressed 
in the English fashion, received us in their neat little 

" The furniture of her house was all made on the 
island, and by the natives, with a little instruction ori- 
ginally from the missionaries. It consisted of sofas 
with backs and arms, with (cinet) bottoms really very 
well constructed ; tables and bedsteads by the same arti- 
ficers. There were curtains to the windows, made of 
white cloth, with dark leaves stained upon it for a 
border, which gave a cheerful and comfortable air to 
the rooms. The bed-rooms were upstairs, and were 
perfectly clean and neat. These comforts they prize 
exceedingly ; and such is the desire for them, that a 
great many cottages, after the same plan, are rising up 
everywhere in the village. 

" The sound of industry was music to my ears. Ham- 
mers, saws, and adzes were heard in every direction. 
Houses in frame met the eye in all parts, in different 
stages of forwardness. Many boats, after our manner, 
were building, and lime burning for cement and white- 

" Upon walking through the village, we were very 
much pleased to see that a nice, dry, elevated footpath 
or causeway ran through it, which must add to their 
comfort in wet weather, when going to prayers in their 
European dresses. As we stopped occasionally to 
speak to some of the natives standing near their huts, 

This part of Fa-re harbour is represented in the frontispiece to vol. iii. 


we had frequent opportunities of observing- the value 
they set upon the comforts of our English style of cot- 
tage, and other things introduced among them of late. 
They said they were ashamed to invite us into their 
huts, but that their other house was building, and then 
they would be happy to see us there. 

" Afterwards I walked out to the point forming the 
division between the two bays. "When I had reached 
it, 1 sat down to enjoy the sensations created by the 
lovely scene before me. I cannot describe it ; but it 
possessed charms independent of the beautiful scenery 
and rich vegetation. The blessings of Christianity 
were diffused among the fine people who inhabited 
it ; a taste for industrious employment had taken deep 
root; a praiseworthy emulation to excel in the arts 
which contribute to their welfare and comfort had 
seized upon all, and in consequence, civilization was 
advancing with rapid strides." 

There is something peculiarly pleasing in watching 
the process which periodically changes the face of the 
natural world. The swelling bud — the opening blossom 
the expanding leaves — the tiny fruit formations, as they 
regularly pass under the eye of the observer, are not 
less interesting than the bough bending with ripened 
fruit. The process which effects the changes marking 
the progress from birth to maturity in the animal crea- 
tion is not less curious ; and at this time we beheld a 
work advancing, which was rapidly transforming the 
character and habits of a nation, and materially altering 
even the aspect of the habitable portions of their coun- 
try. This gave a peculiar interest to the nondescript 
sort of dwelling, half native hut, and half European 
cottage, which many of the people at this time inhab- 
ited. They marked the steps, and developed the pro- 
cess, by which they were rising from the rude and 
cheerless degradation of the one, to the elevation and 
enjoyment of the other. These sensations were often 
heightened by our beholding, in the neighbourhood of 
these half-finished houses, the lonely and comfortless 
hut they had abandoned, and the neatly finished cottage 
in which the inmates enjoyed a degree of comfort that, 
to use their own powerful expression, made them some- 
times ready to doubt whether they were the same 
people who had been contented to inhabit their former 
dwellings, surrounded by pigs and dogs, and swarms 


of vermin, while the wind blew over them, and the rain 
beat upon them. 

The greater number of houses already erected con- 
tain only two or three rooms on one floor ; but several 
of the chiefs have built spacious and, considering the 
materials with which they are constructed, substantial 
habitations, with two stories, and a number of rooms in 
each, having also some of the windows glazed. Mahine, 
the king of Huahine, was, we believe, the first native of 
the South Sea islands who finished a house with upper 
rooms. When done, it was quite a curiosity among the 
natives of the leeward islands, and multitudes came on 
purpose to see it. It was built with care, and, consider- 
ing it as a specimen of native workmanship, was highly 
creditable to their industry, perseverance, and ingenuity. 
Many of the natives, especially those who have been 
native house-builders, are tolerably good carpenters, and 
handle tools with facility. They have also been taught 
to saw trees into a number of boards, instead of splitting 
them into two planks, which was their former practice. 

The stone in the northern parts of the island is a kind 
of compact ancient lava, and, though rather hard, is, we 
think, adapted for buildings. We were desirous to in- 
duce some of the chiefs to attempt the erection of a 
stone house ; but they had no proper tools for preparing 
the stone, and the labour was also greater than in their 
present state of civilization they were disposed to un- 
dertake. It is not, however, improbable that stone 
buildings will ultimately supersede the neat, yet, com- 
pared with those erected of less perishable materials, 
temporary dwellings they are now occupying. The 
coral rock is also more durable than the plaster ; and 
although soft, and easily hewn when first taken out of 
the sea, it afterward assumes a degree of hardness which 
resists the weather for a long series of years. A chapel 
has been built with this material in the island of Eimeo, 
and it will probably last longer than any other yet 

When we arrived in Eimeo, Messrs. Hayward and 
Bicknell were residing in boarded dwellings with cham- 
bers, and Mr. Nott in a house, the walls of which were 
neatly plastered. The earth in some parts of the islands 
would probably answer for bricks ; and the missionaries 
formerly made one or two attempts to prepare them for 
ovens, &c, but did not succeed. Individuals professing 


to understand making bricks have once or twice offered 
to teach the natives ; but, much as we have wished to 
possess permanent brick houses for ourselves, or to 
recommend the natives to prepare such, we are con- 
vinced that the labour would be too great, and the fail- 
ures in burning them too frequent, to allow at present 
of their being made with advantage, — yet we hope they 
will follow the plastered cottage, just as that now occu- 
pies the place of the native hut. 

The timber principally employed in their buildings is 
the wood of the bread-fruit tree ; and, although they are 
careful of this valuable tree, it is necessary frequently 
to urge the duty of planting, in order to ensure a future 
supply, not only of timber, but of food, as the large trees 
are now comparatively few, and the population is evi- 
dently increasing. 

In the commencement of a new settlement, or the 
establishment of a town like that rising around us at the 
head of Fa-re harbour, we were desirous that it should 
assume something like a regular form, as it regarded 
the public buildings and habitations of the chiefs and 
people. We sometimes advised them to build their 
houses and form their public roads in straight lines, and 
to leave equal distances between the roads and the 
houses, and also between each dwelling. Our endeav- 
ours, however, were unavailing. They could perceive 
nothing that was either desirable or advantageous in a 
straight road, or regularity in the site, or uniformity in 
the size or shape, of their habitations. Every one, 
therefore, followed his own inclinations. The size of 
the building was regulated by the number in the family, 
the rank or the means of its proprietor, and the shape 
by his fancy. It was oblong or square, with high gable 
or circular ends, covered with thatch, so that the build- 
ing resembled an oval more than any other shape. 

The situations selected were either parts of their own 
ground, or such places- as accorded with their taste and 
habits. Those who were frequently upon the waters, 
and enjoyed the gentle sea-breezes, or wished to excel 
their neighbours, built a massy pier, or causeway, in 
the sea, and, raising it four or five feet above high-water 
mark, covered it with smooth flat stones, and then erected 
their houses upon the spot they had thus recovered 
from the sea, by which it was on three sides surrounded. 
The labour required for effecting this prevented any 


but chiefs from building in such situations. Others, actu- 
ally building upon the sand, erected their dwelling upon 
the upper edge of the beach, within four or five yards 
of the rising tide. 

The public road, from six to twelve feet wide, which 
led through the district, extending in aline parallel with 
the coast, presented all its curvatures. Some of the 
natives built their houses facing the sea ; others, turning 
their fronts towards the mountain, reared them within 
five or six feet of the road ; while several, of a more 
retiring disposition, built in the centre of their planta- 
tions, or under the embowering shade of a grove of 
bread-fruit trees, enclosing them within the fence that 
surrounded their dwelling. Some of the leading chiefs, 
in order to enjoy a more extensive prospect, and to 
breathe a purer atmosphere, left the humidity and shade 
of the lowland and the valley, and built their houses on 
the sides of the verdant hills that rise immediately be- 
hind the bay, and form the connecting link between the 
rocks around the beach and the high mountains of the 

A settlement thus formed could never possess any ap- 
proximation to uniformity ; yet it frequently seemed to 
us as if the variety in size and shape among the build- 
ings, and the irregularity of their situation, were in per- 
fect keeping with the wild, untrained, luxuriant loveli- 
ness and romantic appearance of the rocks, the hills, 
the mountains, the valleys, and every other natural 
object by which the rising settlement was surrounded. 
The chiefs vied with each other in the size, elevation, 
or conveniences of their houses : some being, like Po- 
huetea's and Teriitaria's, built upon a pier in the sea ; 
others preparing to attach verandas, by which they 
could remain cool under a meridian sun; others erected 
rude covered balconies, in which they might enjoy a 
more extended prospect, be shaded from the sun, and 
breathe purer air. The rustic palm-leaf thatch, and 
beautifully .white plastered walls, of all the buildings, 
whether standing on the sea-beach, on the mountain's 
side, embowered under the bread-fruit and cocoanut 
grove, or situated in the midst of their plantations, with 
a walk strewed with fragments of coral and shells lead- 
ing from the road to the door, appeared in delightful 
contrast with the thick dark foliage of the trees, the 


perpetual luxuriance of vegetation, and the variegated 
blossoms of the native flowers. 

The duration of the buildings was in general according 
to the nature of the thatch; the same house frequently- 
received two or three new roofs ; and if the frame was 
well put together, and the timber seasoned, a plastered 
cottage would probably last ten or fifteen years. Many, 
however, from the rude and hurried manner in which 
they were built, became dilapidated in a much shorter 

While individuals and families were thus engaged in 
the erection of their domestic habitations, the people of 
the island were occupied in raising a spacious and sub- 
stantial chapel. They commenced it in the beginning 
of 1819, and completed it early in the following year. 
It was one hundred feet long, and sixty wide. The sides 
were fourteen or sixteen feet high, and the centre not 
less than thirty. The walls were plastered within and 
without. The roof was covered with pandanus leaves, 
the windows closed with sliding shutters, and the doors 
hung with iron hinges of native workmanship. Alto- 
gether, the building was finished in a manner highly 
creditable to their public spirit, skill, and industry. All 
classes cheerfully united in the work, and the king of the 
island, assisted by his only son, a youth about seventeen 
years of age, might be seen every day directing and 
encouraging those employed in the different parts of the 
building, or working themselves with the plane or the 
chisel in the midst of their chiefs and subjects. 

The interior of the roof was remarkable for the neat- 
ness of its appearance and the ingenuity of its structure. 
The long rafters, formed with slender cocoanut, casua- 
rina, or hibiscus trees, were perfectly straight, and 
polished at the upper end. The lower extremities were 
ornamented with finely woven variegated matting, or 
curiously braided cord, stained with brilliant red, or 
black and yellow native colours, ingeniously wound 
round the polished wood, exhibiting a singularly neat 
and checkered appearance. The ornament on the rafter 
terminated in a graceful fringe or bunch of tassels. 

The pulpit, situated at a short distance from the north- 
ern end, was hexagonal, and supported by six pillars of 
the beautiful wood of the pua, which resembles in its 
grain and colour the finest satin-wood. The panels 
were of rich yellow bread-fruit, and the frame of mero, 

Vol. II. — M 


a fine-grained, dark, chestnut-coloured wood. The stairs, 
reading-desk, and communion-table were all of deep 
umber-coloured bread-fruit-tree ; and the whole, as a 
specimen of workmanship, was such as the native car- 
penters were not ashamed of. The floor was boarded 
with thick sawn planks or split trees ; and, although it 
exhibited great variety of timber and skill, was by no 
means contemptible. 

According to ancient usage in the erection of public 
buildings, the work had been divided among the different 
chiefs of the islands ; these had apportioned their re- 
spective allotments among their peasantry or depend- 
ants, and thus each party had distinct portions of the 
wall, the roof, and the floor. The numbers employed 
rendered these allotments but small, seldom more than 
three or six feet in length, devolving on one or two 
families. This, when finished, they considered their 
own part of the chapel ; and near the part of the wall 
they had built, and the side of the roof they had thatched, 
they usually fitted up their sittings. The principal 
chiefs,^ however, fixed their seats near the pulpit. 

Uniformity was as deficient in the seats of the chapel 
as in the houses of the town, each family fitting up their 
own according to their inclination or ability. For a con- 
siderable extent around the pulpit, the seats were in the 
form of low boarded pews neatly finished. Behind them 
appeared a kind of open, or trellis-work, line of pews, 
which were followed by several rows of benches with 
backs; and, still more remote from the pulpit, what 
might be called free or unappropriated seats, were solid 
benches, or forms, without any support for the back or 

The colour and the kind of wood used in the interior 
was as diversified as the forms in which it was em- 
ployed ; it was, nevertheless, only when empty that its 
irregularity and grotesque variety appeared. When 
well filled with respectably dressed worshippers, as it 
generally was on the Sabbath, the difference in the ma- 
terial or structure of the places they occupied was not 
easily noticed. 

A remarkably ingenious and durable low fence, called 
by the natives aumoa, was erected round it, and the area 
within the enclosure was covered with small fragments 
of white branching coral, called anaana, and found on 
the northern shores of the bay. 


In the month of April, 1820, it was finished, and on 
the 3d of May opened for divine service. 

A distressing epidemic had raged for some time among 
the people, and still confined many to their habitations ; 
yet there were not fewer than fifteen hundred present. 
Many of them were arrayed in light European dresses, 
and all evidently appeared to feel a high degree of satis- 
faction in assembling for the public adoration of the 
Almighty in a building in many respects an object of 
astonishment through the island, and which their own 
toil and perseverance had enabled them to finish. 

Individuals in England who have materially contrib- 
uted by personal exertions or pecuniary aid to the erec- 
tion or enlargement of a church or chapel have, when 
the object of their solicitude and their toil has been ac- 
complished, experienced emotions of satisfaction during 
the subsequent opportunities they have had of render- 
ing divine homage there ; but the satisfaction of the 
Tahitians, though the same in kind, I am disposed to 
believe, is stronger in degree, when standing on the 
floor, the trees constituting which, they cut down in 
the forest — when screened from the wind by that por- 
tion of the wall their own hands reared, and covered by 
that section of the roof which they had thatched. 

While the inhabitants of Huahine were thus laudably 
engaged in providing the means of increasing their do- 
mestic enjoyments, and accommodating the assemblies 
for public worship, their neighbours in the adjacent 
island of Raiatea were not behind them in the rapidity 
of their improvement. They had erected a number of 
dwelling-houses, and a building for divine service, larger 
than that at Huahine, but inferior in elevation and 
breadth ; being forty-two feet wide, and at the sides 
about ten feet high. It was finished a week or two 
earlier than the chapel in Huahine, and was opened on 
the 11th of April in the same year; when upwards of 
2400 inhabitants of that and the adjacent islands assem- 
bled within its walls. 

To the natives of Raiatea this work of their own 
hands appeared a wonderful specimen of architecture ; 
the manner in which its interior was finished perfectly 
astonished them, and appeared no less surprising to the 
natives of the other islands. It was not only furnished 
with a pulpit, a desk, a boarded floor throughout, con- 
structed of the tough planks of the reva, and filled with 


pews and seats, but by the invention and ingenuity of 
the missionaries it was subsequently furnished with a 
rustic set of chandeliers. 

By this contrivance it could be lighted up for an even- 
ing congregation, while we were under the necessity 
of concluding all our public services before the sun de- 
parted. These chandeliers, as they may perhaps with 
propriety be called, were not indeed of curious work- 
manship or dazzling brilliancy, in polished metal or cut- 
glass, but of far more common materials and simplicity 
of structure. The frame was of light tough wood, and 
the lamps, instead of being coloured and transparent, 
were opaque cocoanut-shells. They were, however, 
the only inventions of the kind the natives had ever 
seen ; and on the night when the chapel was first illu- 
minated by their aid, as they came in one after another, 
and saw the glare of such a number of lights suspended 
from the roof in a manner that they could not at first 
understand, they involuntarily stopped to gaze as they en- 
tered the door, and few proceeded to their seats without 
an exclamation of admiration or surprise. Their aston- 
ishment was probably greater than would be experienced 
by an English peasant from a retired village, on behold- 
ing for the first time a spacious public building splen- 
didly lighted up with gas. 

Although we were pleased with the effect produced 
on the minds of the natives, and a thousand delightful 
associations revived in our bosoms the first time we 
mingled with a crowded evening congregation, we did 
not recommend our people to follow the example their 
ingenious neighbours had set them. It appeared more 
desirable, in the partially organized state of society then 
prevailing in the islands, to conclude all our public 
meetings by daylight, rather than call the people from 
home after sunset. 

mai's VISIT. 269 


Schools erected in Huahine— Historical facts connected with the site of the 
former building— Account of Mai (Omai)— His visit to England with Cap- 
tain Furneux— Society to which lie was introduced— Objects of his attention 
— Granville Sharp— His return with Captain Cook— Settlement in Huahine 
— His subsequent conduct— Present proprietors of the Beritani in Huahine 
—House for hidden prayer— Cow per's lines on Omai— Royal mission chapel 
in Tahiti— Its dimensions, furniture, and appearance— Motives of I he king 
in its erection— Description of native chapels — Need of clocks and bells — 
Means resorted to for supplying their deficiency— Attendance on public 

As soon as the new building in Huahine was finished 
and appropriated to the sacred use for which it had been 
reared, the original chapel was converted into a school, 
and was scarcely sufficient to accommodate the increas- 
ing number of scholars. 

Two new places, upon the same plan as the chapel, 
and built with similar materials, were afterward erected, 
one for the boys' school, and the other for the girls' ; 
these, when finished, greatly facilitated the instruction 
of the people— the accommodation they afforded encour- 
aging those to attend who had before been deterred. 

The spot on which the old chapel and subsequent 
school had been erected was connected with an import- 
ant event in the modern history, not only of Huahine, 
but of the several adjacent clusters of islands. In Sep- 
tember, 1773, when Captains Cook and Furneux left 
Huahine, the latter was accompanied by a native, who 
had intimated his desire to proceed in the ship on a visit 
to Britain. He was a Raiatean— who, after a defeat 
which his countrymen had sustained in an engagement 
with the daring and warlike natives of Borabora, had 
taken shelter in Huahine. His inducement to undertake 
a voyage, of the incidents and exposures of which he 
could form no idea, does not appear to have resulted so 
much from a wish to gratify a restless and ardent curi- 
osity, as from the desire to obtain the means of aven- 
ging his country, and regaining the hereditary posses- 
sions of his family, which were now occupied by the 
The name of this individual was Mai, usually called 


Omai, from the circumstance of the o being prefixed in 
the native language to nouns in the nominative case. 
Mai is the name of the present king of Borabora, though I 
am not certain of his having descended from the same 
family. The Mai who accompanied Captain Fumeux 
does not appear to have been connected by birtli or rank 
with the regal or sacerdotal class, although among other 
accounts circulated respecting him while in England, it 
was stated that he was a priest of the sun, an office and 
title unknown in his native islands. He represented 
himself as a hoa, friend or attendant, on the king. In 
person he was tall and thin, easy and engaging in his 
manners, and polite in his address ; but in symmetry of 
form, expression of countenance, general outline of 
feature, and shade of complexion, inferior to the major- 
ity of his countrymen. His conversation was said to 
be lively and facetious. He reached England when the 
interest of Captain Cook's first voyage, and the deep 
impression produced by his discoveries, were still vivid 
and universal, and anticipation was raised to the highest 
pitch in reference to the developments expected from 
his second visit to that distant part of the world. Mai, 
being the first native of the islands of the South Sea 
brought to England, produced an excitement as unpre- 
cedented, in connexion with an untutored islander, as it 
was powerful and extensive, even in the most polished 
circles of society. Mai, on his arrival in London, was 
considered a sort of prodigy ; he was introduced to 
fashionable parties, conducted to the splendid entertain- 
ments of the highest classes, and presented at the Brit- 
ish court amid a brilliant assemblage of all that was 
illustrious in rank and dignified in station. The Tahi- 
tians in general are good imitators of others ; this talent 
he possessed in an eminent degree, and adopted that 
polite, elegant, and unembarrassed address whereby 
the class with which he associated has ever been dis- 
tinguished. Naturally quick in his perceptions and 
lively in his conversation, although the structure and 
idiom of his own language effectually prevented his 
speaking English with ease or fluency, he was soon able 
to make himself understood ; and the embarrassment he 
occasionally felt in giving utterance to his thoughts 
perhaps added to the interest of those who were watch- 
ing the effect which every object in a world so new to 
him must naturally occasion. 


Every place of public amusement, and every exhibi- 
tion adapted to administer pleasure, was repeatedly 
visited; and the multiplicity of spectacles thus presented 
in rapid succession kept his mind in a state of perpetual 
excitement and surprise. The impression made by one 
object was obliterated by the exhibition of some new 
wonder, which prevented his paying particular regard 
to any. This constant variety deprived him of all use- 
ful knowledge, and diverted his attention from the im- 
portant subjects that demanded his notice while residing 
in the metropolis of Britain. A most favourable oppor- 
tunity was afforded for his acquiring that knowledge 
of our agriculture, arts, and manufactures, our civil and 
religious institutions, which would have enabled him to 
introduce the most salutary improvements among his 
countrymen. Thus he might have become a father to 
his nation, and his visit to England might have been 
rendered a blessing to its latest generations. But, as 
Forster, who accompanied him on his return, laments, 
"No friendly Mentor ever attempted to cherish and 
gratify this wish, much less to improve his moral char- 
acter, to teach him our exalted ideas of virtue, and the 
sublime principles of revealed religion." To the cen- 
sure thus passed upon those under whose care he spent 
the period of his residence in England one exception at 
least must be made, and that in favour of a name that 
will ever be dear to every friend of humanity. Gran- 
ville Sharp became acquainted with Mai, taught him the 
first principles of writing, and, so far as his knowledge 
of our language allowed, endeavoured to pour the light 
of divine truth into his ignorant and untutored mind. 
He made such progress in the use of letters, that on his 
voyage to the South Seas, while staying at the Cape of 
Good Hope, he wrote a letter to his friend Dr. Solander. 

During the two years he spent in this country, he was 
inoculated for the small-pox, from which he happily re- 
covered ; and loaded with presents profusely furnished 
by his friends, he embarked for his native island at 
Plymouth, in the summer of 1776. He accompanied 
Captain Cook to New-Zealand, ' the Friendly Islands, 
and Tahiti ; and after an absence of rather more than 
four years, returned to Huahine on the 12th of October, 

In this island Captain Cook judged it most prudent to 
establish his fellow-voyager, and consequently solicited 


for him a grant of land from the chiefs. It was readily 
furnished, and a spot marked out, measuring about two 
hundred yards, along the seashore, and extending from 
the beach to the mountain. Here a garden was en- 
closed, and many valuable seeds and roots, which had 
been brought from England or the Cape of Good Hope, 
were planted. The carpenters of the vessels erected 
for him a house in the European style, and on the 26th 
of October the presents with which he had been so libe- 
rally supplied were landed, and he took possession of 
his dwelling. In addition to the seeds and plants, a 
breed of horses, goats, and other useful animals were 
brought on shore ; but the greater part of the presents 
was comparatively useless, and many were bartered to 
the sailors for hatchets or iron tools. It does not ap- 
pear that there was any implement of husbandry or 
useful tool included in the catalogue of his presents, 
though he landed with a coat-of-mail, a suit of armour, 
musket,' pistols, cartouch-box, cutlasses, powder, and 
ball ! Besides these, however, he was furnished with a 
portable organ, an electrical machine, fireworks, and 
numerous trinkets. 

The estimate Captain Cook formed of his character 
was correct : he appeared to have derived no permanent 
advantage from the voyage he had made, the attention 
he had received, or the civilized society with which he 
had been associated. He soon threw off his European 
dress, and adopted the costume, uncivilized manners, 
and indolent life of his countrymen. Weakness and 
vanity, together with savage pride, appear to have been 
the most conspicuous traits of character he developed 
in subsequent life. 

The horses included among his presents appear to 
have been regarded by Mai as mere objects of curiosity, 
and, when occasionally ridden, it was to inspire terror 
or excite admiration in the minds of the inhabitants. 
His implements of war, and especially the firearms, 
rendered his aid and co-operation a desideratum with 
the king of the island, who, in order more effectually 
to secure the advantage of his influence and arms, gave 
him one of his daughters in marriage, and honoured him 
with the name of Paari (wise or instructed), by which 
name he is now always spoken of among the natives ; 
several of whom still remember him. He appears to 
have passed the remainder of his life in inglorious indo- 


lence or wanton crime, to have become the mere in- 
strument of the caprice or cruelty of the king of the 
island, who not only availed himself oi the effects of 
his firearms in periods of war, but frequently ordered 
him to shoot at a man at a certain distance, in order to 
see how far the musket would do execution ; or to des- 
patch with his pistol, in the presence of the king, the 
ill-fated objects of his deadly anger. 

The majority of those whom I have heard speak of 
him, generally mentioned his name with execration 
rather than respect ; and though some of the chiefs 
consider him as a man who had seen much of the world, 
and who possessed, according to their ideas, an amazing 
mass of information, his memory is certainly very lightly 
esteemed by his countrymen. As he does not, how- 
ever, seem to have evinced, either on board the vessels 
in which he sailed, or among the company with which 
he mingled while in England, any latent malignity of 
character, or cruelty of disposition, he might perhaps 
have returned with very different sentiments and princi- 
ples, had he fallen into other hands during his visit here. 

The spot where Mai's house stood is still called Beri- 
tani, or Britain, by the inhabitants of Huahine. A 
shaddock-tree, which the natives say was planted by 
Captain Cook himself, while the vessels lay at anchor, 
is still growing on what was once part of his garden. 
The animals, with the exception of the goats and pigs, 
have all died ; and in this instance, the benevolent inten- 
tions of the British government, in sending out horses, 
cattle, &c. proved abortive. The helmet, and some 
other parts of his armour, with several cutlasses, are 
still preserved, and, when we arrived in Huahine, were 
displayed on the sides of the house standing on the spot 
where Mai's dwelling was erected by Captain Cook. A 
few of the trinkets, such as a jack-in-a-box, a kind of 
serpent that darts out of a cylindrical case when the 
lid is removed, were preserved with care by one of the 
principal chiefs, who, when we first saw them, consid- 
ered them great curiosities, and exhibited them, as a 
mark of his condescension, to particular favourites. 
What became of the organ and electrical machine I 
never knew. Among the curiosities preserved by the 
young chief of Tahaa, there was an article that I was 
very glad to see ; it was a large quarto English Bible, 
with numerous coloured engravings, which were the 


only objects of attraction with the natives. I was told 
it belonged to Paari, or Mai, and hope it was given him 
among the presents from England, although no mention 
whatever is made of a Bible, or any other book, among 
the various articles enumerated by those who conveyed 
him to his native shores. 

Within the limits of the grant made to Captain Cook 
for his friend Mai,, some of the missionaries who, in 
1809, took shelter inHuahine, after their expulsion from 
Tahiti, in 1808, erected their temporary habitations. A 
few yards distant from the spot in which Mai's house 
stood, and immediately in front of the dark and glossy- 
leaved shaddock-tree planted by Captain Cook, the first 
building for the worship of Jehovah was erected ; and 
on the same spot the first school in Huahine was opened, 
in which the use of letters and the principles of reli- 
gion were inculcated. 

Nearly in front of the site of Mai's dwelling now 
stands the residence of Pohuetea and Teraimano, to 
whom by right of patrimony Beritani belongs. It was, 
when I was last there, in 1824, one of the most neat, 
substantial, and convenient modern houses in the set- 
tlement, containing two stories and eight apartments. 
The district around, which when we arrived was alto- 
gether uncultivated, and overrun with brushwood grow- 
ing in tvild luxuriance, has been cleared ; the garden 
has been again enclosed, and planted with many useful 
vegetable productions of the tropical regions. It is cul- 
tivated by its proprietors, who, there is reason to hope, 
are decided Christians. They erected, within the pre- 
cincts of their garden, a beautiful, but rustic little sum- 
mer-house or cottage, which they call a fare lure huna, 
or house for hidden prayer. I one day visited this gar- 
den, a few weeks after it had been enclosed and stocked 
with the most valuable indigenous plants of the islands. 
Towering above the plantains, papaws, &c, the shad- 
dock planted by Captain Cook appeared like an inhab- 
itant of another country, in solitary exile : for though 
the- climate is similar in point of temperature to that in 
which it is accustomed to thrive, its shoots are not so 
long and vigorous, its leaves are not so clear, dark, and 
glossy, as those of the other plants ; and the fruit, though 
large and abundant, falls prematurely to the ground. 
The place where it stands is rather damp, and this may, 
perhaps, have caused it to appear so sickly. 


After wandering some time among the clustering 
sugar-cane, rows of pine-apples, plantains, and ba- 
anas, I approached this house for private devotion. A 
narrow path covered with sand and anaana, or branches 
of coral, led to the entrance. An elegant hibiscus 
spread its embowering shade on its rude and lowly roof. 
A native palm-leaf mat covered the earthen floor — a 
rustic seat, a table standing by a little open window, 
with a portion of the Scripture, and a hymn-book, in 
the native language, constituted its only furniture. The 
stillness of every thing around, the secluded retirement 
of the spot, and the varied objects of nature with which 
it was associated, seemed delightfully adapted to con- 
templation and devotion. The scene was one of diver- 
sified beauty, and the only sounds were those occasioned 
by the rustling among the sugar-canes, or the luxuriant 
and broad-leaved plantains, while the passing breezes 
sw r ept gently through them. 

I naturally inferred that the house was appropriated 
to purposes of secret devotion; and meeting its proprie- 
tor, I asked its use. He informed me that it was de- 
voted to that object, and spoke with apparent satisfac- 
tion of the happiness he enjoyed in the retirement it 

The erection of their dwelling, culture of their gar- 
den, building the house for hidden prayer, &c. (the 
labours of the present proprietors of Beritani), are very 
different from the erection of a boarded house merely 
as a fortress, in which are deposited, as the most valued 
treasures of its inhabitant, arms and ammunition. It 
does not appear that Mai's house was designed as a 
model by which the natives were to be encouraged to 
build their own, but a place of security for the property, 
which he was recommended to enclose with a spacious 
native building: and the pursuits of its present occupants 
are in delightful contrast with the childish exhibition of 
fireworks, or the display of those trinkets by which it 
was endeavoured to impress the minds of the natives with 
ideas of English superiority. The events which have 
since transpired were but little anticipated by the dis- 
tinguished navigator who conducted this simple-hearted 
native from one end of the globe to the other, spared 
no pains to promote his welfare and comfort, and who, 
although mistaken in the means he employed, undoubt- 
edly aimed at the prosperity of the interesting people 


whom he had introduced to the notice of the civilized 

Visiting almost daily the spot, and living in habits of 
intercourse with the successors of Mai, I have been 
often led to compare the views and circumstances of 
the present inhabitants of Beritani with those of the 
resident originally left there by its discoverer; and in 
connexion with the circumstances of Mai after his return 
to his native islands, the following beautiful and pathetic 
lines have often occurred to my mind ; and though pe- 
rused on the spot withsensations probably unfelt else- 
where, I have nevertheless supposed, that could the 
poet have foreseen what has since taken place, not only 
in this island, but throughout the group, or had he lived 
in the present day, he would never, in the belief of 
their abandonment so soon after their discovery, have 
recorded such mournful anticipations : — 

" These I can pit)', 
But far beyond the rest, and with most cause, 
Thee, gentle savage,* whom no love of thee 
Or thine, but curiosity perhaps, 
Or else vainglory, prompted us to draw 
Forth from thy native bowers, to show thee here 
With what superior skill we can abuse 
The gifts of Providence, and squander life. 
The dream is past. And thou hast found again 
Thy cocoas and bananas, palms and yams, 
And homestall thatched with leaves. But hast thou found 
Their former charms? And having seen our state 
Our palaces, our ladies, and our pomp 
Of equipage, our gardens, and our sports, 
And heard our music ; are thy simple friends, 
Thy simple fare, and all thy plain delights, 
As dear to thee as once] And have thy joys 
Lost nothing by comparison with ours T 
Rude as thou art (for we returned thee rude 
And ignorant, except of outward 6how), 
I cannot think thee yet so dull of heart, 
And spiritless, as never to regret 
Sweets tasted here, and left as soon as known. 
Methinks I see thee straying on the beach, 
And asking of the surge that bathes thy foot, 
If ever it has wash'd our distant shore. 
Thus fancy paints thee, and, though apt to err, 

* Omai. 

covvper's plaint FOR MAI. 277 

Ferhaps errs little when she paints thee thus. 
She tells me too, that duly ev'ry mom 
Thou climb'st the mountain-top, with eager eye 
Exploring far and wide the wat'ry waste 
For sight of ship from England. Ev'ry speck 
Seen in the dim horizon turns thee pale 
With conflict of contending hopes and fears ; 
But comes at last the dull and dusky eve, 
And sends thee to thy cabin, well prepared 
To dream all night of what the day denied. 
Alas ! expect it not. We found no bait 
To tempt us in thy country. Doing good, 
Disinterested good, is not our trade. 
We travel far, 'tis true, but not for naught ; 
And must be bribed to compass earth again 
By other hopes, and richer fruits, than yours." 

In the visit of Mai, the experiment in reference to 
the effect of refinement, civilization, and philosophy, 
upon the ignorant and uncivilized was tried under cir- 
cumstances the most favourable for producing sympathy 
in one party, and impression on the other : the result 
was affecting. The individual who had been brought 
from the ends of the earth, and shown whatever Eng- 
land could furnish suited to impress his wondering 
mind, returned, and became as rude and indolent a bar- 
barian as before. With one solitary exception, the 
humanizing and elevating principles of the Bible do not 
appear to have been presented to his notice, and he 
seemed to have derived no benefit from his voyage. 
Well might the poet lament his fate. But the ship 
Duff had not sailed, and the spirit of missionary enter- 
prise was not aroused in the British churches. Insti- 
tutions, the ornament and the glory of our country, had 
not arisen. The schoolmaster was not abroad in the 
earth, and, proceeding onward with the tide of com- 
merce that rolled round the world, the progress of dis- 
covery and science penetrating every remote, inhos- 
pitable section of our globe ; the Bible and the missionary 
had not been sent. Had Cowper witnessed these ope- 
rations of Christian benevolence, he would have cheered, 
with his own numbers, those who had gone out from 
Britain, and other lands, not only to civilize, but to at- 
tempt the moral renovation of the heathen. 

The regularly framed and plastered chapels in Hua- 
hine and Raiatea were the first of the kind in the lee~ 


ward or windward islands ; they were not, however, 
the only large buildings erected for public worship. 
Pomare had, ever since our arrival, been engaged in 
preparing materials, and erecting a chapel, at Papaoa, 
by far the largest ever built in the islands : it had been 
opened twelve months before those in the leeward 
islands were finished. 

This building, which is called the Royal Mission 
Chapel, and might, not inappropriately, be termed the 
cathedral of Tahiti, is certainly, when we consider the 
imperfect skill of the artificers, their rude tools, the 
amazing quantity of materials used, and the manner in 
which its workmanship is completed, an astonishing 
structure. It is seven hundred and twelve feet in 
length, and fifty-four wide. Thirty-six massy cylin- 
drical pillars of the bread-fruit tree sustain the centre 
of the roof, and two hundred and eighty smaller ones, 
of the same material, support the wall-plale along the 
sides, and around the circular ends, of the building. 
The sides or walls around are composed of planks of 
the bread-fruit tree, fixed perpendicularly in square 
sleepers. The whole either smoothed with a carpen- 
ter's plane, or polished, according to the practice of the 
natives, by rubbing the timber with smooth coral and 
sand. One hundred and thirty-three windows or aper- 
tures, furnished with sliding shutters, admit both light 
and air, and twenty-nine doors afford ingress and egress 
to the congregation. The building was covered with 
the leaves of the pandanus, enclosed with a strong and 
neat low aumoa, or boarded fence ; and the area within 
the enclosure was filled with basaltic pebbles, or broken 
coral. The roof was too low, and the width and eleva- 
tion of the building too disproportioned to its length, to 
allow of its appearing either stupendous or magnificent. 

The interior was at once singular and striking. The 
bottom was covered, in the native fashion, with long 
grass, and, with the exception of a small space around 
each pulpit, was filled with plain but substantial forms 
or benches. The rafters were bound with braided cord, 
coloured in native dies, or covered nearly to the top of 
the roof with finely woven matting, made of the white 
bark of the puravt, or hibiscus, and often presenting a 
checkered mixture of opposite colours, by no means 
unpleasing to the eye. The end of the matting usually 
hung down from the upper part of the rafter three, six, 


or nine feet, and terminated in a fine broad fringe or 

The most singular circumstance, however, connected 
with the interior of the Royal Mission Chapel is the 
number of pulpits. There are no fewer than three. 
They are nearly two hundred and sixty feet apart, but 
without any partition between. The east and west 
pulpits are about a hundred feet from the corresponding 
extremities of the chapel. They are substantially built, 
and though destitute of any thing very elegant in shape 
or execution, answer exceedingly well the purpose for 
which they were erected. 

This immense building was opened for divine service 
on the 11th of May, 1819, when the encampment of the 
multitudes assembled stretched along the sea-beach, on 
both sides of the chapel, to the extent of four miles. 
On this occasion, three distinct sermons, from different 
texts, were preached at the same time, to three distinct 
congregations. Each audience, consisting of upwards 
of two thousand hearers, assembled round the respective 
pulpits within the same building. The king and prin- 
cipal chiefs appeared at the east, which, contrary to the 
order observed in their antipodes, is considered the 
court end. The whole number of hearers, according to 
the nearest calculation, was about seven thousand ; and, 
notwithstanding this number assembled, a space re-, 
mained between the different congregations. 

I have occasionally preached in the Royal Mission 
Chapel, but never when any other person besides was 
engaged ; consequently, I cannot say what effect is pro- 
duced on the ear by the delivery of more than one dis- 
course at the same time. In the account the mission-, 
aries give of its opening, they say, the pulpits being at 
so great a distance from each other, no confusion ensued 
from the speakers preaching at once in the same house. 
To an individual who could have stood at one end of the 
building, a little above the assembly, and directed his 
glance to the other, the three pulpits and preachers — 
the seven thousand hearers assembled around in all the 
variety, and form, and colour of their different costume 
— must have presented an imposing and a deeply inter- 
esting spectacle. 

Although divested of every thing like stateliness or 
grandeur, the first visit I paid to the chapel left a strong 
impression on my mind. I entered from the west ; and 


the perspective of a vista, extending upwards of seven 
hundred feet, partially illuminated by the bright glow 
of strong noonday light entering through the windows, 
which were opened at distant intervals, along the 
lengthened line of pillars that support the rafters — the 
clean rustic appearance of the grass-spread, floor — the 
uniformity of the simple and rude forms extending 
throughout the whole building — the pulpits raised above 
them — heightened the effect of their perspective. Be- 
sides these, the singular, novel, light, waving, and not 
inelegant adornments of the roof, all combined to in- 
crease the effect. The reflections also associated with 
the purpose for which it had been erected, and the recent 
events in the history of the people, whose first national 
Christian temple we were visiting, awakened a train ol 
solemn and grateful emotions. How it might be when 
the house was filled I do not know ; but when empty, 
the human voice could be distinctly heard from one end 
to the other, without any great effort on the part of 
those who at this distance called or answered. 

A long aisle or passage, between the forms, extends 
from one end to the other. In walking along this aisle 
on my first visit, I was surprised to see a watercourse 
five or six feet wide, crossing, in an oblique direction, 
the floor of the chapel. On inquiry of the people who 
accompanied our party, they said it was a natural water- 
course from the mountains to the sea; and that, as they 
could not divert its channel so as to avoid the building 
without great additional labour and constant apprehen- 
sion of its returning, they had judged it best to make a 
grating at each side under the wall, and allow it to pass 
in its accustomed course. As it was not during the 
rainy season that we were there, it was dry ; the sides 
were walled, and the bottom neatly paved; but in the 
rainy season, when the water is constantly flowing 
through, its effect must be rather singular on the minds 
of those sitting near it during public worship. 

One end of the building was used by the inhabitants 
for divine service every Sabbath ; the other parts are 
only occupied at the annual meetings of the Tahitian 
Missionary Society, or on similar occasions, when large 
national assemblies are convened. In 1822, when I last 
visited it, the roof had already begun to decay. The 
labour of keeping so large a place in repair would be 
very great ; and the occasions for its use so seldom 

pomare's commendable zeal. 281 

occur, that no repairs have been made since the king's 
death ; and the exposure being constant, it will not 
probably last many years longer. The texture of the 
palm-leaves composing the thatch is not such as to 
resist for any protracted period the intense heat of the 

It has appeared matter of surprise to many that the 
natives should desire, or the missionaries recommend, 
the erection of such large places of worship ; and I have 
often been asked, how we came to build such immense 
houses. The Royal Chapel at Papaoa, however, is the 
only one of the kind in the islands. It originated en- 
tirely with the king, and in its erection the missionaries 
took no part. The king, determined in his purpose, 
levied a requisition for materials and labour on the chiefs 
and people of Tahiti and Eimeo, by whose combined 
efforts it was ultimately finished. The missionaries 
were far from approving of the scale on which Pomare 
was proceeding ; and, on more than one occasion, some 
of them expressed their regret that so much time and 
property should be appropriated to the erection of a 
building which would be of far less general utility than 
one of smaller dimensions. But the king was not thus 
to be diverted from his original design ; and however 
injudicious the plan he pursued might be, the motives 
by which he was influenced were certainly commend- 
able. He frequently observed, that the heaviest labour, 
and the most spacious and enduring buildings ever 
erected, were in connexion with the worship of their 
former deities, illustrating his remarks by allusion to 
the national maraes at Atehuru, Tautira, and other parts; 
declaring, at the same time, his conviction that the re- 
ligion of the Bible was so much superior to that under 
which they formerly lived, and the service of the true 
God so happy and beneficial in its influence, that they 
ought to erect a much better place for the homage of 
Jehovah than had ever been reared for the worship of 
their idols. 

In this statement of his motives we have every rea- 
son to believe the king was sincere, and we conse- 
quently felt less inclined to object. It is probable, also, 
that, considering the Tahitians as a Christian people, he 
had some desire to emulate the conduct of Solomon in 
building a temple, as well as surpassing in knowledge 
the kings and chieftains of the islands. When, in the 


course of conversation, the building was mentioned, or 
he was asked why he reared one so large, he inquired 
whether Solomon was not a good king, and whether he 
did not erect a house for Jehovah superior to every 
building in Judea, or the surrounding countries. 

Excepting its lengthened vista, and the singular ap- 
pearance of the ornamented roof, there is nothing very 
prepossessing in the interior of the Royal Mission 
Chapel ; and its length is so very disproportioned to its 
width and elevation, that the exterior is neither elegant 
nor imposing; and although it breaks the uniformity 
and loneliness of the landscape, it can hardly be said 
that its introduction has been an improvement. Po- 
mare, however, appeared to experience great satisfaction 
in superintending its erection, and in marking its pro- 
gress. He was present, surrounded by not fewer than 
seven thousand of his subjects, when it was for the first 
time appropriated to the sacred purpose for which it had 
been built, and his feelings on that occasion were, no 
doubt, of a superior and delightful kind — very different 
from those of his predecessors in the government of 
Tahiti, and especially of his father, who, when the mis- 
sionaries built their little chapel at Matavai, for which 
he had furnished the timber, sent a large fish, requesting 
it might be suspended in the temple of the God of 
Britain, that he might share his favour, and secure his 
aid, as well as that of the gods of Tahiti. 

The first places of worship erected by the natives, 
after the subversion of idolatry, were comparatively 
small in size, and differed but little from the common 
native houses, excepting in the manner in which the 
interior was fitted up. This was generally done by 
fixing benches from one end to the other, and erecting 
a kind of desk or table equally distant from both ex- 
tremities, and near one of the sides. These chapels 
were formerly numerous, and the inhabitants of each 
district had their own fare lure, or house of prayer, in 
which they were accustomed to assemble twice on the 
Sabbath, and once during the week, for reading the 
Scriptures and prayer. Such was the rapidity with 
which places for public, worship were erected, that at 
the close of 1818, twelve months only after the battle 
of Narii, near Bunaauiia, there were sixty-six in the 
island of Tahiti alone. 

Since the establishment of the stations in Huahine 


and the other islands, the number has been greatly 
diminished ; the people in many parts have resorted to 
the missionary settlement, particularly on the Sabbath ; 
and the places formerly used as chapels have been con- 
verted into schools. Places now used for worship in 
the islands, although not so numerous as formerly, are 
much more convenient and substantial. The walls are 
either of plank or plaster, the floors are boarded, and 
the area within is fitted up with a pulpit, desk, and pews, 
or seats. Some have neat and commodious galleries; 
and in the island of Eimeo, on the site of the temple in 
which Patii was priest, a neat and substantial chapel 
has been built with white hewn coral. 

I have not heard that glass windows have been intro- 
duced into the chapels of any of the stations. Cushions 
have not yet intruded into any of the pews, and only 
into one of the pulpits. 

No native chapel is yet furnished with a public clock j 
and although it would be a valuable article, there is not 
such a thing in the South Sea islands. The stations 
have also been hitherto but indifferently supplied with 
a far more useful appendage to their places of public 
worship than even a dial, namely, a bell. Whatever 
may be said of the inutility of bells in churches or 
chapels in civilized countries, where public clocks are 
numerous, and watches almost universal — the same 
objections will not apply to a people destitute of these, 
and having no means of denoting the hour of the day, 
except by mentioning the situation of the sun in the 
heavens. In the South Sea islands they certainly are 
not a needless article, and we found it impossible to in- 
duce the people to attend the schools, or assemble for 
public worship, at any regular or appointed season, 
without some such method of calling them together. 
For several years there was, in all the islands, only one 
small handbell, not so large as that ordinarily used by 
the bellman in an English market-town. 

As the number of stations increased, bells were sent 
from England, but they were either too small, badly 
made, or carelessly used, and were frequently broken a 
few days after their arrival. "Various were the expe- 
dients resorted to for supplying the deficiency thus 
occasioned, and I have often been amused at beholding 
the singular substitutes employed. In the Sandwich, 


Islands tney sometimes used a bullock's horn, or a long 
tin horn resembling that used by a mail-coach guard ; 
but, in general, a far more classic instrument, a beautiful 
marine shell, a species of turbo, or trumpet-shell, vary- 
ing in size according to the power of the individual by 
whom it might be sounded. This, in fact, was the 
trumpet carried by the king's messenger; and 1 have 
often been delighted to see a tall and active man, or a 
lively and almost ruddy boy, with a light cloak or scarf 
thrown loosely over his shoulder, a wreath of flowers 
on his head, and a maro or girdle around his loins, — a 
shell, suspended by a braided cord, carelessly hanging 
on his arm, — going round the village, stopping at inter- 
vals to sound his shell, and afterward, perhaps, inviting 
the listening throng to hasten to the school, or to attend 
the place of worship. I procured a trumpet-shell 
actually used for these purposes in Oahu, during my 
residence there, and consider it one of the most inter- 
esting curiosities which I was enabled to deposite in the 
Missionary Museum. 

At Eimeo, a thick hoop of iron, resembling the tire 
of a small carriage- wheel, suspended by a rope of twisted 
bark, and struck with an iron bolt, was substituted for a 
bell. At Huahine, during the greater part of my resi- 
dence there, we had a square bar of iron, hanging by a 
cord of parau bark from a high cocoanut-tree that grew 
near the chapel ; and our only means of calling the in- 
habitants of the settlement together was by appointing 
a person at the proper hour to strike it several minutes 
with a hard stone. It had been so long in use that the 
bar of iron was considerably battered by the blows. 

The missionaries at Raiatea procured what is called 
a pig of cast-iron ballast, a solid piece about three or 
four feet long, and six or nine inches square, with a hole 
through one end. Near the chapel they erected a low 
frame, consisting of two upright posts, and a cross-piece 
at the top, resembling a gallows, from the centre of 
which the pig of iron was suspended ; and, when used, 
struck with a stone. What the natives thought of it I 
do not know ; but to those who were accustomed to 
associate with a gallows, and any object so attached to 
it, only ideas of an execution, or of a criminal hung in 
irons, its appearance was not adapted to awaken very 
gratifying feelings. 

At Borabora, for a long time after Mr. Orsmond's set- 


tlement there, their only substitute for a bell was a 
carpenter's broad-axe. The handle was taken out, a 
string passed through the eye, and when the inhabitants 
were to assemble, a native boy went through the settle- 
ment, holding it up by the string with one hand, and 
striking it with a stone which he held in the other. 
When I last saw the boy going his accustomed rounds, 
I perceived that, in consequence of frequent and con- 
tinued use, the side he struck had actually become con- 
cave, the opposite exhibiting a corresponding convexity. 

But the most rude and simple expedient I ever beheld 
was at Raivavai, or High Island, where every implement 
of iron was as precious and as scarce as bells or clocks 
were at the other stations. At Raiatea a sun-dial was 
erected, by which the natives, when the sun shone, 
were informed of the proper time for ringing their bell : 
at the other stations they usually applied to the mis- 
sionaries, by whose watches the meetings were regu- 
lated ; but here they had neither dial nor watch : they 
therefore regulated their time of assembling in the 
school or the chapel by the situation of the sun. At the 
appointed time, the person whose office it was to call 
them together went to the green spreading tree, from 
one of whose lower branches their rude unpolished bell 
was suspended. It was a rough, flat, oval -shaped stone, 
about three feet long, and twelve or eighteen inches 
wide. A piece of twisted bark was tied across it, and 
fastened to the tree. A number of small round stones 
lay underneath, with which, when it was necessary to 
call the people together, the large one was struck. I 
could not imagine its use until, in answer to my inquiry, 
the native teacher said, " It is the bell with which we 
call the people to prayers." It appeared metallic to a 
great degree, as the sound produced by striking it was 
considerable ; but not, I should think, such as could be 
heard at a distance. These circumstances appear trivial, 
but they serve to show the expedients resorted to in a 
state of society so peculiar as that now prevailing in the 
South Sea islands. 

For school the bell is rung, the shell sounded, or the 
bar of iron beaten, only once, which is about a quarter 
of an hour before it commences. For public worship it 
is repeated a second time — once at a quarter before the 
commencement, and again immediately preceding the 
service ; and indifferent as the means of giving public 


notice are, there is no cause to complain of delay or 
interruption from the late attendance of the people. 
They are punctual in repairing to the house of prayer 
after the first intimation, and are usually all assembled 
before the period for the service to commence has ar- 
rived. Their ready and early attendance is a circum- 
stance cheering to their teachers, who often receive a 
message, informing them that, though it may not be 
time to ring the second bell, the house is full, and the 
people are waiting. This is not only manifested with 
regard to their Sabbath-day services, but their lecture 
on Wednesday evening, and their monthly missionary 
prayer-meetings. It is true, their occupations at home 
are seldom very urgent, and they have not much to neg- 
lect ; it is, nevertheless, encouraging to notice that they 
do not wish to avoid a place of worship when a public 
service is held 


Improved circumstances of the females— Instruction in needlework— Intro- 
duction of European clothing— lis influence upon the people— Frequent 
singularity of their appearance— Development of parental affection— In- 
creased demand for British manufactures— Native hats and bonnets— Rea- 
sons for encouraging a desire ibr European dress, <fec — Sabbath in the 
South Sea islands— Occupations of the preceding day— Earlv morning 
prayer-meetings— Sabbath-schools— Order of divine service— School exer- 
cises—Contrast with idolatrous worship. 

While the enclosure of plantations and gardens, the 
erection of neat and commodious dwellings, schools, 
and the spacious place of worship after the European 
plan, were rapidly altering the aspect of the settlement, 
the natives themselves were undergoing a change of 
appearance in perfect harmony with this transformation. 
The females, no longer exposed to that humiliating 
neglect to which idolatry had subjected them, enjoyed 
the comforts of domestic life, the pleasure resulting 
from the culture of their minds, the ability to read the 
Scriptures, and to write in their own language, in which 
several excelled the other sex ; they also became anx- 
ious to engage in employments which are appropriated 
to their own sex in civilized and Christian comnmni- 


ties. They were therefore taught to work at their 
needle, 'and soon made a pleasing proficiency. 

The missionaries' wives had taught some few in 
Eimeo prior to our arrival ; but, until their reception of 
Christianity, they considered it degrading to attach 
themselves to the household of foreigners, or to learn 
any of their arts and customs ; they also thought their 
own manner of wearing a piece of native or foreign 
cloth, cast loosely round the body, preferable to the 
European mode of dress, and consequently had no in- 
ducement to learn needlework or any other female em- 
ployment. They were, however, now anxious, not only 
to adopt the English style of clothing, but also to be 
able to make their own dresses. This was a kind of 
instruction which our wives were competent to impart, 
even before they had acquired a sufficient knowledge of 
the language to enable them to teach in the schools. 
Mrs. Ellis had engaged in it ever since our arrival in 
Eimeo ; and, as soon as we were settled in the leeward 
islands, some were daily occupied in teaching the native 
females to sew. 

In Huahine, a large class attended every afternoon 
from two o'clock till five, alternately at our respective 
houses, where Mrs. Barff and Mrs. Ellis met, and spent 
the afternoon pleasantly in each other's society, and 
unitedly teaching the females by whom they were sur- 
rounded. The natives, in general, now considered it a 
great favour to be taught, though it was sometimes 
found that they had entertained very incorrect ideas of 
the motives by which their instructers were influenced. 
A young woman had attended very regularly for some 
weeks, and had learned to use her needle as well as 
could be expected in that time. One Saturday night 
she presented herself with our native domestics, and 
begged to be paid her wages for learning to sew ! Mrs. 
Ellis said, " Why should I pay you ! in our country it 
is customary for those instructed to pay their teachers." 
The woman answered with some earnestness, " You 
asked me to come and learn — I have been here so long 
— I have learned. It must be in some way advantage- 
ous to you, or you would not have been so anxious 
about it ; and as I have done what you wished me to do, 
you ought to pay me for it." She was told that the 
labour of teaching had been gratuitous, and the advan- 
tage resulting was all her own, and appeared satisfied 


when assured that, now she had learned, she should be 
regularly paid for the needlework she might do. This, 
li.'/wever, at the time to which I now refer, 1819, was a 
rare occurrence ; although in the earlier periods of the 
mission it had been frequently manifested, not only in 
regard to needlework, but every department of instruc- 

Accustomed only to perform those services that were 
for the advantage of foreigners, the natives had been 
usually paid for the same. They could not conceive, 
notwithstanding the frequent explanations given, why 
the missionaries should be so desirous for their learning 
to read, &c, if they were not in some way or other 
benefited thereby ; hence, many of the early scholars 
expected to be paid for learning, and, I believe, some 
for appearing at the chapel. This, however, was only 
manifested during the time when very few could be 
induced to attend, and none perhaps came from the in- 
fluence of that desire for Christian instruction which 
attended the general profession of Christianity. After 
this period, it was only shown by those who were actu- 
ated by a desire to obtain the favour of their superiors. 

European cloths, cottons in particular, had long been 
favourite articles of barter with the natives, on account 
of their durability compared with native manufacture, 
their adaptation to the climate, variegated and showy 
colours, and the trifling injury they sustained from wet. 
They no longer traded for ardent spirits, muskets, pow- 
der, &c, and were consequently enabled to procure 
larger quantities of British woven cloth. Hitherto, 
however, they had generally worn the European cottons, 
&c. in the native manner, either as a light tehei, thrown 
over the shoulder, a pareu wound round the waist, or 
ahu buu, a kind of large scarf, or shawl, loosely covering 
the greater part of the body. They were now desirous 
to assimilate their dresses in some degree to ours. 
Mrs. Nott and Mrs. Crook made one or two loose 
dressing-gowns for Pomare, after a pattern from us. 
This introduced the fashion, and many of the women 
made others for their husbands. 

The first garment in general use among the females 
was a kind of Roman tunic, usually of white or blue 
calico, these being their favourite colours. It was fast- 
ened round the neck with a short collar, which, if pos- 
sible, was united by a bright gilt or plated button. The 


sleeves were long and loose, and buttoned at the 
wrists, while the lower parts reached nearly to the 
ankles. On the outside of this they wore the pareu 
round the waist, and reaching below the knees. The 
colour of these articles was generally in perfect con- 
trast. When the loose European dress was white, the 
pareu, worn round the waist on the outside of it, was 
of dark blue ; one end of it was sometimes thrown care- 
lessly over the shoulder, or hung loosely on the arm, 
heightening the novel and not unpleasing effect produced 
by their blending in the apparel of the same individual 
the ancient native with the modern European costume. 
Their dress thus indicated, equally with their half-native 
and half-foreign dwellings, the peculiar plastic, forming 
state of the nation, and the advancement of that process 
which was then constantly imparting to it some fresh 
impression, and developing new traits of character with 
rapid and delightful progression. 

As the natives experienced the convenience of the 
new dresses, their desire for them increased, and the 
long loose dress soon became an every day garment, 
while others of a finer texture, made after the European 
fashion, were procured for special occasions. From 
making plain, straight-forward garments, the more ex- 
pert were anxious to advance still higher ; and, in pro- 
cess of time, frills appeared around the neck; and. ulti- 
mately, caps covered the heads, and shoes and stockings 
clothed the feet. Our assemblies now assumed quite a 
civilized appearance, every one whose means were 
sufficient to procure it dressing in a garment of Euro- 
pean cloth. 

These changes in the exterior of the people were 
sometimes attended with rather humorous circum- 
stances. I shall not soon forget the first time the queen, 
and about half a dozen of the chief women of Huahine, 
appeared in public wearing the caps which had been 
sent as a present by some ladies in England. It was 
some time after the adoption of the English dress. 
"When they first entered with their bonnets on, much 
surprise was not excited ; but when these were removed, 
and the cap appeared, they viewed each other for some 
time most significantly, without, however, saying a 
word, yet each seeming to wonder whether her head, 
with its new appendages, resembled in appearance that 
of her neighbour. The attendants, and others who were 

Vol. II.— N 


not so distinguished, after recovering from evident as- 
tonishment at seeing the Huahinian ladies for the first 
time in European caps, were by no means sparing in 
their remarks. Some observed, they were perhaps de- 
signed to keep the head cool ; others, to keep it warm ; 
and others supposed they were to preserve it from the 
flies and the mosquitoes. All agreed that they looked 
very strange, and the wearers appeared to think so 
themselves ; but it was supposed to be according to the 
usage of ladies in England, — and to the despotism of 
fashion, even here, all minor considerations were ren- 
dered subservient. 

The desire to obtain foreign clothing was now very 
great, equal to that with which they sought iron tools ; 
and whenever they procured one article of it, it was 
worn forthwith, without waiting till the suit was com- 
pleted. This often rendered their appearance to a Eu- 
ropean eye exceedingly ludicrous. There was a degree 
of propriety usually manifested by all classes of the 
females in their dress : they either paid more attention 
to their appearance than the oilier sex, or were better 
informed ; and the only inconsistency we ever observed 
was that of a woman's sometimes wearing a coat or 
jacket belonging to her husband or brother. The men, 
however, were less scrupulous ; and whether it resulted 
from their fondness of variety, or a supposition that the 
same clothes, worn in different ways, would appear like 
distinct articles of dress, I am not able to say ; but I 
have seen a stocking sometimes on the leg, and some- 
times on the arm, and a pair of pantaloons worn one 
part of the day in a proper manner, and during another 
part thrown over the shoulders, the arms of the wearer 
stretched through the legs, and the waistband buttoned 
round the chest. 

Their own dress was remarkably simple in its form 
and appearance, and was generally more or less suited 
to their vocation. When employed in agricultural pur- 
suits, or in fishing, in which occupation they were as 
much in the sea as out of it, the men seldom wore any 
other dress than their tihere or maro, a broad girdle 
passed several times round the body. At other times 
they wore a pareu, which reached from the waist to the 
calf of the leg. Over the shoulders, when not at work, 
they wore a loose ahu buu, a kind of scarf or mantle, 
in some degree resembling the Roman toga ; or they 


appeared in the tipula, an article of dress having an 
aperture in the centre through which the head is passed, 
the other parts extending over the shoulders, breast, and 
back. The tiputa was generally worn by the chiefs and 
all persons of respectability. 

This article is common to all the South Sea islanders, 
and resembles in every respect, excepting the material 
of which it is fabricated, the poncho worn by the abo- 
rigines of South America inhabiting the countries adja- 
cent to the Pacific. The combination of these with 
some parts of the men's apparel worn in Europe pro- 
duced an effect less pleasing than the apparel of the 
females. Appearance and convenience, however, were 
not much considered by the Society islanders, and it 
was often amusing to see a native satis cidotte, without 
waistcoat or shirt, with a maro or pareu round his 
waist, and a fashionably made black coat on his back. 
The men are generally above the middle stature, and 
proportionably stout, so that few of the coats, &c. be- 
longing to the captains or officers of vessels touching at 
the islands were large enough. If, however, they could 
by any means thrust their large muscular arms through 
the sleeves, it was thought to fit very well. Notwith- 
standing the warmth of the climate, they are fond of 
Avearing the coat buttoned ; and although when thus 
fastened it appeared less repulsive to our opinions of 
propriety, than when, standing open, it exposed the 
naked breast of the wearer, it was often quite distressing 
to see the imprisoned and pinioned arms occasionally 
struggling for liberty, and the perspiration oozing from 
the pores of the skin, indicating the laborious confine- 
ment of the body it enclosed. 

These were scenes witnessed immediately after the 
general adoption of European clothing. Most of those 
who wear it now are able to procure at least one com- 
plete suit, and consequently appear less singular. In 
the arrangement, however, of the different articles of a 
complete dress, they were at first equally unhappy, and 
not unfrequently presented an appearance which it was 
impossible to behold with gravity. A tall man was 
sometimes seen with a hat and shoes, without stock- 
ings, a long surtout black cloth coat, with the collar 
turned up and buttoned close to his chin, and over his 
black coat a white frilled shirt, the collar unbuttoned, 
snd the bosom thrown open, the sleeves drawn up 


towards the elbows, and the outline of the other parts 
appearing in strong contrast with the black coat under- 
neath, which reached to his ankles. Such an appear- 
ance was more than once presented, and the reason 
assigned for it was, that the shirt was so much smaller 
than the coat, that had it, instead of the coat, been put 
underneath, it would not have been seen. Although 
exhibited in the person of a chief, the incongruity of 
such an arrangement furnished matter of ridicule even 
for themselves, and is now never seen. 

European articles of dress are in the greatest de- 
mand ; this method of clothing being adopted by all 
whose means enable them to procure either cotton or 
woollen cloth ; and there are few who, by preparing 
arrow-root, feeding pigs, manufacturing cocoanut oil, 
or other labour, cannot purchase from the shipping a 
suit of foreign clothing. I have frequently been de- 
lighted to see families of natives going on board the 
vessels, or repairing to the market-house on shore, with 
the produce of their labour, and when they have arrived 
at the place of barter, and the captain or the merchant 
has spread before them his attractive goods, glossy and 
bright in all the shining colours of which they are so 
fond, the parent's eye has often glanced over them, in 
wonder when and how they were made. They have 
been seen occasionally looking down to notice what 
had attracted the attention of a little boy or girl, stand- 
ing, perhaps, beside them ; and if they thought the 
child could not distinctly see the different pieces, they 
have lifted it up, that it might look over the table, and 
then have asked the child which it would like to have. 
Sometimes the child would smile and hang its head, and 
fall upon its mother's shoulder, as if it knew not which 
to choose. At other times it would point to one, upon 
which the merchant has been directed to cut off so 
much as would make a frock or gown : it has been 
folded up, and given to the child ; and while the parents' 
eyes have marked the pleasure of the child as it has 
held the new frock on its arm, the smile on their own 
countenances has declared the pleasure they experi- 
enced. In many instances I have seen a garment for 
the mother next selected ; and then the father, with the 
remainder of their native produce, has purchased some 
articles for himself. Their first effort now is generally 
to purchase, and to learn to make light clothing for 


their children; and there are perhaps few parents in the 
islands who would think of purchasing a garment for 
themselves while their little one was destitute. 

It is a pleasing fact, which demonstrates unequivo- 
cally that the South Sea islanders are not deficient in 
capacity, but are capable, when inducement sufficient is 
offered, of acquiring habits of close industry, that in the 
islands of Raiatea and Huahine, or any of the stations 
in the leeward islands, there was hardly an adult fe- 
male, excepting the aged and infirm, who could not use 
her needle so as to make her own clothes, and those 
required by other members of the family. I have not 
had equal opportunity of knowing what progress the 
females in the windward islands have made, but have 
reason to believe it is highly creditable to their appli- 

The occupation furnished by the new order of things 
that has followed the introduction of Christianity is 
one of the important sources of their present enjoy- 
ment. But this is not the only advantage resulting 
therefrom. It has opened a new channel for commer- 
cial enterprise, and has actually created a market for 
British manufactures, the consumption of which, among 
the islands of the Pacific that have received the gospel, 
is already considerable. Mr. Stewart estimates that 
the trade of four American merchants in the Sandwich 
Islands amounts to one hundred thousand dollars a 
year; this, however, is a far greater amount than that 
of all the other islands of Polynesia. The demand 
will increase in the exact proportion in which industry 
shall augment the produce of the islands, and the prop- 
erty of their inhabitants. This is a consideration 
which, though confessedly very inferior to many, ought 
not to be disregarded by those who take an interest in 
the alteration of society which is now attending mis- 
sionary efforts in various parts of the world, but par- 
ticularly in such countries as Africa, Madagascar, and 
the islands of the Pacific. 

Shoes and hats are not much less in demand than 
cottons or woollens ; and these also must, for the pres- 
ent, and probably for many years to come, be supplied 
from England or America. Although the light hats, 
made with a fine sort of grass, or the bark of a tree, 
are, in our estimation, remarkably well adapted to the 
climate, most of the men making any pretensions to 


respectability strive to possess an English hat. We 
were for a long time surprised at the partiality of the 
natives for woollen cloth, and hardly knew how to ac- 
count for it, as it does not altogether arise from its 
being more durable. At one time, no article of dress 
was more acceptable to the men than a thick shaggy 
great-coat, which, to us, it was quite oppressive even 
to behold. Many purchased with avidity a thick blanket, 
which they would wear as an ahu buu over the shoul- 
ders, or a pareu round the waist. Frequently, when 
we have been burdened with the lightest crape or nan- 
keen dress, a native, by no means deficient in corpu- 
lency, would walk several miles with an ordinary great- 
coat, without seeming to experience more than usual 
inconvenience. I never heard them complain of the 
heat; and the cause of their apparent insensibility to 
its oppressive influence is probably to be found in their 
being early exposed, and constantly habituated to the 

Early in the year 1820, another important change 
took place in the dress of the Society islanders ; affect- 
ing not only their appearance, but tending perhaps ulti- 
mately to alter their physical structure. This was the 
introduction of hats and bonnets. If the sculls of those 
nations that wear no covering on their heads are thicker 
than those who do, there is reason to suppose the cra- 
niums of the Tahitians will be much thinner in a few 
generations, than they have been prior to this period : 
since, from their earliest history, they appear to have 
gone abroad bare-headed. The inhabitants formerly 
wore a kind of bonnet, or rather shade for the eyes, 
made of the leaves of the eocoanut, in a variety of 
forms, many of them tasteful and elegant. They were 
called taupoo or taumata, and, as the latter name signi- 
fies, were designed to screen the face or eyes ; it being 
composed of tau, to hang upon or cover, and mata, face 
or eyes. It was worn on the forehead immediately 
below the hair, and fastened by a narrow leaflet passing 
round the back of the head above each of the ears, 
leaving the whole of the back and upper part of the 
head entirely exposed. 

The first native bonnet we have heard of, as manu- 
factured in the islands, was finished while we resided in 
Afareaitu, by Mrs. Ellis. It was made for our infant 
daughter, with leaflets of the fan-leaved palm, brought 


from the Marquesas ; and the first hat we ever saw that 
had been made there was one the same individual 
made for me at Huahine, with the same kind of leaves, 
which were plaited by a sailor in Eimeo. Hats and 
bonnets were, however, introduced among the natives 
by our friends in Raiatea, with whom many valuable 
improvements have originated ; and the first hats and 
bonnets ever made in the islands, and worn by the na- 
tives, were made by Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Threlkeld, 
in the spring of 1820. Their appearance on the heads 
of the natives of Raiatea produced no slight sensation 
there ; and the report of their use, as it spread through 
the islands, occasioned a considerable stir. 

Highly approving of whatever had a tendency to civ- 
ilize the natives, or to furnish them with useful employ- 
ment, we rejoiced at their introduction, and endeavoured 
to persuade the natives of Huahine to follow the ex- 
ample of their Raiatean neighbours. Whether, how- 
ever, they were influenced by a feeling of pride which 
made them averse to imitate the Raiateans, or an un- 
willingness to increase their domestic employments, we 
do not know ; but the females in general, the queen and 
chief women in particular, seemed at first determined 
to resist the innovation. The men rejoiced at the idea 
of making hats ; and yet, notwithstanding this, and the 
repeated offers of Mrs. Barff and Mrs. Ellis to teach 
the females to plait, and to make the plat into bonnets 
and hats, they were exceedingly averse to learn. Fol- 
lowing the example of those in Raiatea, their teachers 
made bonnets for themselves with the bark of the pu- 
rau ; and though the chief women acknowledged that 
they looked very well on them, they said they had not 
yet procured the articles necessary to form a complete 
European dress, that many were still without shoes and 
stockings, and that it would be quite ridiculous for the 
head to be covered with a bonnet after the fashion of 
the foreigners, while the feet, like those of the island- 
ers in general, were without shoes. A short time 
afterward, several of the natives of our island sailed 
over to Raiatea, and returned with very flattering ac- 
counts of the improved appearance of those who wore 
hats and bonnets. This induced in several of the chief 
women, who had at least one complete English dress, a 
desire to learn to make them, and ultimately to substi- 
tute the European bonnet for the native taumata. A 


visit which a number of chiefs and their wives, from 
Raiatea, paid to Iluahine, increased their eagerness for 
this new article of dreso — which, when once adopted, 
was never laid aside. 

The desire now became general, and was not con- 
fined to those who possessed other articles of foreign 
dress, it being extended even to such as had none. 
Thus, wearing a hat and bonnet was the first advance 
they made towards a more civilized appearance and 
dress. Our houses were now thronged by individuals 
anxious to be instructed ; and so soon as Mrs. Barff or 
Mrs. Ellis had taught any of the females, these imme- 
diately taught others ; and those who excelled in the 
fineness of their platting, or in putting it together, were 
fully employed by the chiefs and others, and derived no 
small emolument from their new avocation. Dress- 
making and straw-bonnet making, now profitable em- 
ployments to a number of females, were certainly the first 
regular female occupations arising from civilized society 
being introduced into the islands. The hats and bonnets 
were at first made with the inner bark of the slender 
branches of the purau, or the leaves of a fine species of 
rush. The former was beautifully white and glossy, 
while the latter was of a yellow colour, and much more 
firm and durable, on which account it was preferred for 
hats. The only hats I wore in the islands during the 
subsequent years of my residence there were made 
of this material; and in that climate I should never 
desire any other. The use of hats increased so rapidly 
that all the European thread in the islands was soon 
expended. There were no haberdashers' shops at hand, 
whence a supply could be procured ; recourse was there- 
fore had to native productions. Some employed the 
long filaments of the dried plantain-stalk, and others 
split the thin bark of the purau into fine threads or 
fibres ; and though not equal in strength to the twisted 
thread, both answered remarkably well. 

The bonnets were in many instances scarcely finished, 
when another difficulty met their possessors. They 
had observed that the wives and daughters of the mis- 
sionaries, however plain their dress, wore a riband and 
strings to their bonnets, and they had often observed a 
greater profusion of trimmings attached to those worn 
by the wives of the captains, or the female passengers, 
in any of the vessels that touched at the islands ; they 


therefore imagined that in point of improvement they 
might almost as well appear without a bonnet as with 
one destitute of these appendages. These, however it 
was no easy matter to procure, and they would at that 
time certainly have been the last article a captain or 
trader would have thought of taking to the South Sea 
islands for barter. A few of the chief women were 
furnished with an English riband, which was considered 
as valuable as an embroidery of gold would be in some 
circles of society. 

The greater portion of the inhabitants were, however, 
under the necessity of exercising their ingenuity to pro- 
vide a substitute. Those they furnished were various, 
and such perhaps as few English females would have 
thought of. A part of a blacK coat, or a soldier's red 
jacket, cut into strips about two inches wide, was greatly 
esteemed. Next to this, ribands of native cloth, died 
with showy colours, were employed ; while others used 
a string of the bark from a branch of the purau, with 
the outer rind scraped off, the inner bark washed and 
bleached, passed round the bonnet, and tied under the 

Trimmings are not so scarce now as formerly, but 
the supply taken is still inadequate to the requirements 
of the people, among whom bonnets and hats are now 
so common, that before I left the leeward islands, 
scarcely a man, woman, or child was to be seen out of 
doors without one — many of them possessing two, and 
sometimes three or four. 

They are made entirely by the females, who manufac- 
ture not only for themselves, their husbands, and their 
children, but in some of the stations several have formed 
themselves into a kind of society, for the purpose of 
making bonnets for the poor and the aged who are 
unable to make for themselves. The bonnets are either 
sewn together or woven throughout, after the manner 
of Leghorns, and are made, not only with the leaves of 
the mau and the bark of the purau, but of the fine white 
layers of the inside of the plantain-stalk, the leaf of 
the sugar-cane, and a strong and beautiful species of 
fine grass. 

It may perhaps be supposed by those who are unac- 
quainted with the circumstances, that the wives of the 
missionaries have not acted judiciously in introducing 
and cherishing a desire for dress. It may be thought 


that it has a tendency to engender pride, occupy the 
head and the hands about trifles, to the neglect of more 
important matters, inducing them to devote to the adorn- 
ing of the person that time which might with greater 
advantage be appropriated to the cultivation of morals 
and the improvement of their minds. The missionaries, 
however, have not in any degree introduced the love 
of finery ; they found it there, and cannot be supposed 
to have produced any change for the worse in the taste 
of a people by whom a black coat fringed round the 
edge with red feathers was considered a suitable dress, 
even for a high-priest. The most showy English dress 
they ever saw would probably, in the estimation of 
every beholder, appear comparatively plain, when placed 
by the side of those the natives formerly wore. The 
splendid appearance of the loose and flowing ahu buu, 
or the richness of the tiputa, died in their bright and 
favourite scarlet and yellow colours, together with some 
of their headdresses of tropic-bird feathers, and gar- 
lands of the gayest flowers, gave them certainly an im- 
posing appearance. The former continued to be worn 
after their renunciation of idolatry ; and the mission- 
aries knew no reason why they should recommend the 
discontinuance of a dress to which the nation was ac- 
customed, merely on account of its gay appearance. 

Convinced it is not in the dress with which the per- 
son is invested, but in the feelings of the heart with 
which that dress is regarded, that the evil exists — and 
that pride does not consist in the wearing of apparel 
superior to that to which an individual may have been 
accustomed, or to that worn by others, provided it be 
suitable to his circumstances and the society with which 
he associates — they did not disapprove of the native 
dresses. But considering the danger to arise from sub 
stituting external adornment for internal worth, and 
imagining that distinction in dress confers an advantage 
on its wearer, or entitles him to that which he would 
not otherwise assume — the missionaries were led to 
conclude that a Tahitian arrayed in a scarlet and 
yellow tiputa, or invested in the rich fold of his ahu buu, 
was perhaps as humble in mind as those who ap- 
peared desirous to divest themselves of every exterior 
ornament. Their principal aim, however, was to en- 
courage habits of industry ; and this, from the heat of 
the climate, the spontaneous productions of the soil, and 


other causes, appeared likely to be done by the introduc- 
tion of what might be called artificial wants, which 
should operate on the native mind with power sufficient 
to induce labour for their supply. Idleness has been a 
most fruitful source of many of their vices and suffer- 
ings ; and when we have seen the females working with 
their needle, or with the straw for their bonnets, &c, 
Ave could not but deem it an occupation far more con- 
ducive to their enjoyment than indolence, or their former 
unprofitable and often injurious pastimes. It is not to 
be expected that a people unaccustomed to mental effort 
should be constantly engaged with their books. They 
did not relax in their attendance at the school, or any 
of the meetings for public instruction ; and we observed 
with satisfaction their altered appearance in all public 
assemblies, as indicating an improvement in civilization, 
and an increase of industry. 

Their regular and early attendance on the Sabbath 
ever has been, and still is, remarkably conspicuous ; the 
day is to them a season of holy rest and devotional 
enjoyment. Excepting in Tahiti and Eimeo, there is 
now no island on which more than a single missionary 
resides, and consequently public preaching only at the 
station which he occupies. The principal families in 
most of the islands have removed to the settlement for 
the benefit of regular instruction. Others, however, 
occupy lands which are at some distance ; and even 
those who have erected their dwellings near the resi- 
dence of their teacher, having plantations situated in a 
remote district, are often absent for several days to- 
gether. Most of them, however, repair to the settle- 
ment for the Sabbath ; and it is a spectacle that has 
often gladdened our hearts, when, on the Saturday after- 
noon, we have seen parties from every direction ap- 
proaching, by land or by water, the bay at the head, of 
which our settlement was formed. 

In a walk through the village on the afternoon of the 
day preceding the Sabbath, looking along the shore, we 
have often beheld the light canoe doubling a distant point 
of land, and with its native cloth or matting sail wafted 
towards the station. Others nearer the shore, with their 
sails lowered, have been rowed by the men ; while the 
women and children were sitting in the stern, screened 
from the sun by a temporary awning. Along the coast 


many were unlading their canoes, or drawing them upon 
the beach for security. 

The shore presented a scene of activity. The crack- 
ling fire or the light column of smoke might be seen 
rising through the district, and the natives busily en- 
gaged in cooking their victuals for the Sabbath. On 
account of their food being dressed for the Sabbath on 
the Saturday, that day is called mahana maa, food-day. 
As the evening approached, multitudes were met return- 
ing from the inland streams, whither they had repaired 
to bathe after the occupations of the day ; the men 
bringing home their calabashes of water for drinking, or 
their aanos of water for washing the feet ; while the 
females were carrying home bundles of the broad leaves 
of the hibiscus, which they had gathered to serve instead 
of plates for Sabbath meals. On entering the dwellings 
on the Saturday evening, every thing would appear re- 
markably neat, orderly, and clean — their food in baskets 
— their calabashes filled with fresh water — their fruit 
gathered — and broad hibiscus-leaves plucked and care- 
fully piled up for use — their clean garments were also 
laid out ready for the next day. The hours of the even- 
ing, instead of being a season of the greatest care and 
hurry, are, I believe, often seasons of preparation — 
"prelude to hours of holy rest." 

The sacred day was not only distinguished by a total 
cessation from labour, trade or barter, amusements, and 
worldly pleasure — but no visits were made, no parties 
of company entertained, no fire lighted, nor food cooked, 
except in cases of illness. This strict observance of 
the Sabbath, especially in regard to the latter points, 
whereby the Tahitian resembled the Jewish more per- 
haps than the Christian Sabbath, was not directly in- 
culcated by the missionaries, but resulted from the 
desire of the natives themselves to suspend, during this 
day, their ordinary avocations, and also from their 
imitation of the conduct of the missionaries in this 

We have always been accustomed to have our usual 
beverage prepared in the morning and afternoon ; but 
this is the only purpose for which, in ordinary seasons, 
a fire has ever been lighted for any of the missionary 
families ; and* when destitute of tiiese articles, which 
in the earlier periods of the mission was often the case, 
no fire was lighted on the Sabbath ; their food was 


invariably dressed on the preceding day, and the warmth 
of the climate prevented their requiring fire for any 
other purpose. In this proceeding they were influenced 
by a desire that their domestics and every member of 
their families might have an opportunity of attending 
public worship. 

The example thus furnished by their teachers has led 
to the strict and general observance of the Sabbath by 
the nation at large. Their private devotions are on this, 
as well as other mornings, usually concluded by sunrise, 
and shortly afterward the greater part of the inhabit- 
ants assemble for their Sabbath morning prayer- meet- 
ing. Besides a service in English, the missionaries 
preach twice in the native language, and visit the Sab- 
bath-schools ; these services are as many as they are 
able to undertake : the service at the morning prayer- 
meeting is therefore performed by the natives. We 
have, however, sometimes attended, and always with 

It is impossible to conceive the emotions of delight 
produced by witnessing six or eight hundred natives 
assembling at this hour in the respective chapels, and, 
on entering, to see a native, one who was perhaps for- 
merly a warrior or Areoi, or even an idolatrous priest, 
stand up, and read a psalm or hymn, which the congre- 
gation rise and sing. A portion of the Scriptures in the 
native language is then read ; and the thanksgivings and 
petitions of the assembly are offered to Almighty God 
with a degree of fervour, appropriate use of Scripture 
language, and chastened devotional feeling that is as- 
tonishing, when it is considered that but a few years 
before they were ignorant and barbarous idolaters. A 
second hymn is sung, another portion of Scripture read, 
and prayer offered by another individual — when the 
service closes, and the assembly retires. 

Soon after eight o'clock the children repair to the 
Sabbath-schools, those for the boys and girls being dis- 
tinct. About four hundred usually attend in Fa-re : they 
are divided into classes, under native teachers. About 
a quarter before nine, the congregation begins to as- 
semble, and at nine the morning service commences. 
I have often heard with pleasure, as I have passed the 
Sabbath-schools rather earlier perhaps than usual, the 
praises of the Saviour sung by between three and four 
hundred juvenile voices, who were thus concluding their 


morning exercise. The children are then conducted to 
the chapel, each class led by its respective teacher, the 
girls walking first, two abreast and hand-in-hand, clothed 
very generally in European dresses ; wearing bonnets 
made of a fine species of grass, or the bark of a tree , 
each carrying in her hand a neat little basket, made 
with similar materials, and containing a catechism, 
hymn-book, and Testament : the little boys following in 
the same order; more frequently, however, arrayed in 
the native costume, having a little finely-plaited white 
mat, fringed at the edges, wound round their loins ; 
another of the same kind, or a light scarf, died with 
glowing native colours, passed across their breasts, and 
thrown loosely over their shoulders ; their feet naked, 
and their hair often cut short, but sometimes hanging 
in ringlets over their open countenances ; and their heads 
covered with a neat little grass or straw hat, made by 
their mothers or their sisters. 

Before the service began, they were usually led to the 
seats appropriated for them in the chapel ; and where 
there have been galleries, these have been occupied by 
the scholars. Frequently we have been approaching 
the place of worship at the same time that the schools 
have entered it, and it has often afforded us satisfaction 
to behold a father or a mother, with an infant in arms, 
standing under the shade of a tree that grew by the side 
of the road near the chapel, to see, in the line of schol- 
ars, a son or daughter pass by. When the object of 
affection has approached, a smile of pleasure has indi- 
cated the gratification of the child at the notice taken by 
the parent, and that smile has been reciprocated by the 
parent, who, in silent gladness, followed to the house 
of God. 

The morning service commences with singing, during 
which the congregation stands ; a portion of Scripture 
is then read, and prayer offered, the congregation kneel- 
ing or standing. This is followed by singing a second 
time ; a sermon is then preached, after which a short 
hymn is sung, prayer presented, and the benediction 
given ; with which the service closes, between half-past 
ten and eleven o'clock. 

Although the religious exercises are now rather longer 
than they were when the people first, began to attend, 
they seldom exceed an hour and a half on the Sabbath, 
and little more than an hour at other times. It has always 


appeared preferable even to multiply the services, should 
that be necessary, than weary the attention of the people 
by unduly protracting them. In the religious services, 
the repeated singing, the reading prayers, and preaching 
afford sufficient variety to prevent their being irksome 
or dull, while there is nothing childish and unmeaning, 
or purely ceremonial. When the congregation has 
dispersed, the children are conducted to the schools in 
the same order in which they came to the chapel, and 
are there dismissed by one of their teachers. 

In the afternoon they assemble in the schools, and 
read the Scriptures, and repeat hymns, or portions of 
the catechism, and are questioned as to their recollec- 
tion of the sermon of the forenoon. We have some- 
times been surprised at the readiness with which the 
children have recited the text, divisions, and leading 
thoughts in a discourse, without having written it down. 
Often it has been most cheering to see them thus em- 
ployed ; exhibiting all the native simplicity of child- 
hood, mingled with the indications of no careless exer- 
cise of mind on the important matters of religion. It 
is always delightful to watch the commencement and 
progress of mental improvement, and the early efforts 
of intellect ; but it was peculiarly so here. In the 
Sabbath-schools of the South Sea islands, the mechan- 
ical parts of instruction (namely, learning to read, spell, 
&c.) are not attended to ; the time is wholly occupied in 
the religious improvement of the pupils, and is generally 
of a catechetical kind. 

Many of the parents attend as spectators at the Sab- 
bath-schools, and it is not easy to conceive the delight 
they experience in beholding the improvement of their 
children, and in attending at an exercise often advanta- 
geous to their own minds. The greater part of the 
people, however, spend the middle of the day in their 
own dwellings. Formerly they were accustomed to 
sleep, but we believe this practice is by many dis- 

The public service in the evening commences, in 
most of the stations, about a quarter before four, and is 
performed in the same manner as that in the forenoon. 
Meetings for reading the Scriptures and prayer are held 
at some of the native houses in the evening, and we 
usually read a sermon in the English language in our 
own families- 


The attendance of the people is regular, and the at- 
tention seldom diverted. At first, we perceived a great 
inclination to drowsiness, especially during the after- 
noon : at this we were not surprised, when we recol- 
lected that this was the manner in which they were ac- 
customed to spend several hours every day, and that 
they were also unaccustomed to fixedness of attention, 
or exercise of thought on a particular subject, for any 
length of time. This habit, however, has, we have 
reason to believe, very greatly diminished in all the 
islands, and more particularly where congregations regu- 
larly assemble 

The scrupulous attention to the outward observance 
of the Sabbath may perhaps in some degree be the 
result of the impression left on the minds of the people 
by the distinguishing features of their former system, 
in which all the efficacy of their services consisted in 
the rigid exactness with which sacred days were kept, 
and religious ceremonies performed, without the least 
regard to the motives and dispositions of the devotees. 
To have kindled a fire, or to have failed in the observ- 
ance of any rite enjoined, or restriction imposed, during 
their tabu, or sacred seasons, would have been sufficient, 
not only to have neutralized all the advantages expected 
from the most costly offerings or tedious services, but 
would have exposed the offenders to the anger of the 
god, and perhaps to death, as its consequence. 

With many, the influence of a system so inflexible, 
has probably operated powerfully in producing this 
uniform attention at least to the outward duties of the 
Sabbath, the only sacred day now recognised among 
them ; with others, there is reason to beheve, it arises 
from the influence of example, and the respectability it 
was at this time supposed to impart to individual char- 
acter; but with many it originates in far higher motives, 
and is the result of Christian principle in regard to what 
they consider a duty. 

A number of instances, strikingly illustrative of this 
fact, might be adduced : I will, however, only refer to 
one. A man came to the Monday evening meeting on 
one occasion, and said his mind was troubled, as he 
feared he had done wrong. He was asked in what 
respect ; when he answered, that, on the prec ling 
day, which was the Sabbath, when returning from public 
worship, he observed that the tide, having risen higher 


than usual, had washed out to sea a large pair of double 
canoes, which he had left on the beach. At first, he 
thought of taking a smaller canoe, fetching back the 
larger ones, and fixing them in a place of security ; but 
while he was deliberating, it occurred to his recollection 
that it was the Sabbath, and that the Scriptures prohib- 
ited any work. He therefore allowed the canoes to 
drift towards the reef, until they were broken on the 
rocks. But, he added, though he did not work on the 
Sabbath, his mind was troubled on account of the loss 
he had sustained, and that he thought was wrong. He 
was immediately told that he would have done right, had 
he fetched the canoes to the shore on the Sabbath. 
When, however, it is considered, that perhaps this 
pair of canoes had cost him nearly twelve months' labour, 
and that, before they were lost, he was comparatively 
richer than many an English merchant is in the pos- 
session of a five or six hundred ton vessel, it appears a 
remarkable instance of conscientious regard for the 

Since the abolition of idolatry, no part of the conduct 
of the South Sea islanders has impressed the minds of 
foreign visitants more forcibly than their attention to 
the observance of the Sabbath. I never saw any, even 
the most irreligious, or those unfriendly to missions, 
who were not constrained to confess that it surpassed 
all they had heard or imagined could have been exhib- 
ited ; while others, more favourably disposed, have pub- 
licly declared its effect on their own minds. 

When Mr. Crook arrived in 1816, the ship reaching 
Tahiti on the Sabbath, no canoe put off, no native was 
seen on the beach, no smoke in any part of the district 
— and they began to apprehend either that the popula- 
tion had been swept off by some contagious disease, 
or that they had all gone to battle. At length their 
fears were removed by one of the party, who had been 
there before, observing, that it was the Sabbath, and 
that on that day the natives did not launch their canoes, 
or light their fires, &c. In 1821, Captain Grimes "was 
surprised at the regularity and good order observed ; 
the children of the Sabbath-school were ushered in by 
their teachers in their different classes, with as much 
uniformity as we see in public schools in London." 
Several masters of South Sea whalers, captains and 
officers in his majesty's navy, have borne the most 


decided testimony to these facts. A naval officer, who 
was at Tahiti in 1822, stated that he visited the islands 
under a considerable degree of prejudice against the 
missionaries, and suspicion respecting the reported 
change among the people, — but that his visit had en- 
tirely removed both. It was Friday when the vessel 
arrived; the natives thronged the ship with fowls, fruit, 
vegetables, &c. for sale, manifesting considerable ear- 
nestness and address in the disposal of their goods. 
The same was continued through the second day ; but 
on the third, to the great astonishment of all on board, 
no individual came near the ship, assigning, afterward, 
as a reason, that it was the Sabbath. On the day fol- 
lowing, however, the trade was as brisk as it had been 
on that of their arrival. Captain Gambier, who visited 
them in the same year, in the extracts from his journal, 
which have been published, states, in reference to the 
manner of attending the duties of the Sabbath among 
the young, that, " The silence — the order preserved — 
the devotion and attention paid to the subject, surprised 
and pleased me beyond measure." " Children," he 
adds " are seen bringing their aged parents to the church, 
that they may partake of the pleasure they derive from 
the explanation of the Bible." The general attention to 
the public worship of God, and the exemplary Christian 
deportment of many of the people, have proved not 
only delightful, but beneficial, to their visiters ; and we 
are grateful to know, that occasional and transient 
visits to the Christian islands of the Pacific have been 
the means of advantage to the visiters ; and there are 
probably many instances of good, which the revelations 
of the last day alone will disclose. 

It is a privilege to visit a country, and a happiness to 
live in a community, where the Sabbaths are thus spent, 
and prove to multitudes — 

" Foretastes of heaven on earth — pledges of joy 
Surpassing fancy's flights and fiction's story ; 
The preludes of a feast that cannot cloy, 
And the bright out-courts of immortal glory !" 

This universal observance of the Sabbath-day appears 
to an Englishman in humiliating contrast with its profa- 
nation in many favoured sections of his own country. 
The contrast is still more striking when compared with 


the manner in which it is perverted into a season of 
activity, business, and unwonted gayety in the pursuit 
ol pleasure, in Catholic countrics-but it neve? apnea™ 
so surprising as when viewed in comparison with the 
actual state of the people themselves, only a few years 
ago. No Sabbath had then dawned, no happy multi 
tudes met for praise and prayer, no lovely throngs of 
children gathered in the Sabbath-schools, no inspired 
thFi^A r r !f a o Pf acll -er directed their attention to 
the Lord of the Sabbath; but when the devotees met 
for public worship, it was under the gloom of overshad- 
owing trees, amid the recesses of some rude temple 
before some rustic altar, or in the presence of some 
deity of frightful form and fearful attributes, the off 
spring of their own imagination. 


Public assemblies during the week-Questional and conversational meetinw 
-Top 1CS discussed-The seat of the thoughts and aflfec ions-Dutv n( 
P a ? fl Hi^ S n lf " Ure b ;° sraph >- and history-The Lt parents of mankXd- 
h™ r .t~ 0ngin of rnoral evil-Satanic influer.ce-A future siate-Condi 
En"l°nH h °Th W H° h , 3d ^ idolate ^-The Sabbath-Inquiries respect^ 
ChKn '^en^ ne ° f the "»<™ction-A«uietv to 1 possess g ^uiSS 

The religious services of a general kind among the 
natives during the week are not numerous. There is 
one lecture, which is on Wednesday evenino- Num 
bers assemble at this time, and the exercisefwe have 
reason to believe, is useful in keeping alive that interest 
in matters of religion which might be diminished by the 
secular engagements of the week. The following ac- 
count of one of these meetings is given by Captain Gam- 
bier in the extracts of his journal. 

"On Wednesday afternoon we attended a native 
divine service It was begun with a hymn; then Mr. 
JNott, who did duty, prayed extempore for some length 
and then read a passage from the Scripture, upon which 
he preached with great fluency in the Otaheitan lan- 
guage. The church was well attended, though not so 
iun as on Sundays, when it is crowded. Almost all the 
women, young and old, were habited in the European 


manner. The most perfect order reigned the whole 
time of the service. The devout attemion these poor 
people paid to what was going forward, and the earnest- 
ness with which they listened to their teacher, would 
shame an English congregation. I declare, I never saw 
any thing to equal it ! Objects of the greatest curiosity 
at all other times they paid no sort of attention to during 
the solemnity of their worship. After it was over, 
crowds, as usual, gathered round to look at our uni- 
forms, to them so new and uncommon. I looked round 
very often during the sermon, and saw not one of the 
congregation flag in their attention to it. Every face 
was directed to the preacher, and each countenance 
strongly marked with sincerity and pleasure. I had 
heard of the success of the missionaries before I came 
to Otaheite, and, after making great allowance for ex- 
aggeration in the accounts they had sent home, there 
remained sufficient to lead me to anticipate that they 
had done a great deal. But I now declare, their ac- 
counts were beyond measure modest, and, far from col- 
ouring their success, they had not described it equal to 
what I found it. It is impossible to describe the sensa- 
tions experienced on seeing the poor natives of Otaheite 
walking to a Protestant church in the most orderly and 
decent manner, with their books in their hands, and most 
of them dressed in European clothes. Having just 
quitted the Marquesas, wnere we saw tne very state the 
Otaheitans were in at the time of their first visiters, we 
of course saw the change to great advantage ; and the 
magnitude of it is so astonishing that all has the ap- 
pearance of a dream. When, however, fully convinced 
of the reality, the hand of an Almighty Providence is 
distinctly acknowledged." 

There are special meetings held once a week for the 
instruction of those who desire to make a public pro- 
fession of the Christian faith by baptism, and another 
for the candidates for communion. In addition to these, 
there is a public meeting for general conversation, or 
rather for answering the questions of the people, held 
every Monday afternoon or evening. 

This meeting originated in that held on the 26th of 
July, 1813, for the purpose of writing the names of those 
who were desirous of publicly professing Christianity ; 
and was designed for the particular instruction of such 
individuals, though it has since assumed a more general 


character. This has been one of the most important 
and efficient means of promoting general and religious 
improvement in the islands. The greater part of the 
inhabitants of the settlement in which it is held, and 
many from remote districts, having assembled in the 
place of worship, we usually took our seats near a table 
at one end of the building. Soon after the missionaries 
have entered, a native, perhaps in some distant part of 
the house, stands up, and, addressing them by name, 
asks a question, states a difficulty that may have per- 
plexed his mind, begs an explanation of a passage of 
Scripture, or makes an inquiry relative to some subject 
or portion of the sacred volume, &c. Our answers gen- 
erally lead to further questions, either from the first 
inquirer, or other individuals in the assembly. The 
conversation is sometimes continued until a late hour ; 
and both the queries and the replies are usually listened 
to with attention. We always endeavoured to divest 
these meetings of all formality and reserve, and to 
render them engaging, by accompanying our replies 
Avith suitable facts, &c, as illustrations, and encouraging 
in the people the most unembarrassed confidence ; re- 
questing them to present all their difficulties, and solicit 
explanations or directions. 

This meeting has always been highly interesting, and 
has generally indicated the progressive improvement 
of the people. The subjects discussed are perhaps less 
miscellaneous now than they were some years ago, 
when the people were totally uninformed in all the first 
principles of Christianity ; and the nature of these meet- 
ings in some of the stations has perhaps undergone a 
slight change. They are, however, productive of im- 
portant benefit. 

Subjects of every kind were formerly discussed, and 
questions brought forward relative to the discipline of 
children, the forming of connexions, and the whole of 
their domestic economy, agriculture, trade, or barter, 
legislature, war and politics, history and science, as 
connected with the natural phenomena by which they 
were surrounded, and, occasionally, what might be 
termed the first efforts of philosophical research in their 
partially enlightened minds. 

When the political questions referred to their foreign 
relations, or their intercourse with other islands, we 
sometimes allowed them to be entertained ; but when- 


ever they were connected with any civil proceedings, 
or the internal government on the island, although the 
person who introduced it was not interrupted during his 
speech, the matter was always referred to the king and 
chiefs, for whose consideration he was directed to pre- 
sent it at a convenient season, unless the chiefs, who 
were generally present, wished it to be then discussed. 

One of the most curious and interesting topics of con- 
versation, frequently introduced by the more thinking or 
inquisitive among them, was, the seat of the affections, 
and the locality of intellect. Their ideas and ours were 
totally at variance on this point ; and, from the very 
nature of the subject, it was impossible to demonstrate 
the accuracy of one or the other. No part in the sys- 
tem of Drs. Gall and Spurzheim ever obtained among 
them, and, so far from being phrenologists, they did not 
imagine the brain to be even the seat of thought. The 
frequent eulogy pronounced by us on an oration or 
action, in which understanding and right feeling are de- 
veloped, viz. " that it is creditable alike to the head 
and the heart" of the speaker or actor, would have been 
altogether unintelligible to them. The only exception 
to the prevailing opinion, which deprives the head or 
brain of all connexion with the exercise of the mind, is 
the term for headache, which is lahoa, and is also used 
to signify confusion of noise, and perplexity from atten- 
tion to a multitude of objects at the same time. 

The phraseology employed in speaking of the seat of 
the intellect and the affections presents another analogy 
between the idiom of their language and that of the an- 
cient Hebrews. When speaking of mental or moral 
exercises, they invariably employ terms for which the 
English word "bowels" is perhaps the best translation: 
hence they say te manao o tc obu, or i roto i te obu, the 
thought of the bowels, or within the bowels ; te hinaaro o 
te aau, the desire of the bonds ; tc riri o te aau, the 
anger of the bowels. Although bowels is, perhaps, the 
best single word for obu, or aau, in the signification of 
which we have not been able to discover any difference, 
it does not convey the full meaning of the word aau. 
In some places it might be rendered heart, according to 
our idiom, as in the thoughts of the heart, or mind — the 
desire of the mind, or soul — or, the anger of the soul. 
For soul and spirit, however, they have distinct terms, 
varua, and the ancient word vaiti ; but it does not appear 


that they were accustomed to consider the soul, or spirit, 
as experiencing, in conjunction with the body, either 
mental or moral sensations. All the varied passions and 
the mental exercises of which they were sensible they 
spoke of as connected with the aau, or obu, a term lite- 
rally signifying the whole of the abdominal viscera — for 
each separate organ in which they have a distinct name. 

To the head they attributed nothing in connexion with 
intellect, nor to the heart with regard to moral feeling. 
To the organ which in the language of anatomy would 
be called the heart, they attributed no other suscepti- 
bilities than those which are common to other parts of 
the body. This led them generally to contend that the 
thoughts were in the body, and not in the brain ; stating, 
in proof of the accuracy of their opinion, that the bow- 
els, or stomach, were affected or agitated by desire, 
fear, joy, sorrow, surprise, and all strong affections or 
exercises of the mind. They were probably confirmed 
in this definition by the fact of such being the belief of 
their ancestors. 

In reply, we usually informed them that we were ac- 
customed to speak of the heart as the seat of the affec- 
tions and moral principles, though by the heart we often 
meant nearly the same as they intended by the word 
aau, or obu, but that we considered our sensations and 
mental perceptions to be connected with the brain. It 
was in vain that we endeavoured to show the reason- 
ableness of this opinion, by pointing out and explaining 
the connexion between the nerves pervading the sev- 
eral organs of sense and tne brain — the cessation and 
interruption of mental sensation and exercise when the 
nerves of the brain were permanently injured — or when 
the line of nerves extending from an organ to the brain 
was broken. They usually answered, they would be- 
lieve it because we said so, but that they did not under- 
stand it ; nor was it to be expected that they should, as 
their knowledge of the anatomy of the human frame 
was exceedingly limited. They had no idea even of the 
existence of nerves, and it was necessary to introduce 
into their language a word by which they might be de- 
signated. Discussions of this nature, though adapted 
to interest the people, and encourage the exercise of 
intellect, were probably more amusing than profitable*, 
and, notwithstanding the diversified subjects presented, 


their inquiries generally referred to the new order of 
things which Christianity had introduced. 

In reference to this, while they were sometimes 
trivial, and perhaps ludicrous, they were often deeply 
interesting and important, and not unfrequently difficult 
and perplexing. I wrote many of them down at the 
time ; others have been recorded by my companions ; a 
selection will convey a more correct idea of their mode 
of thinking and expression than any general description. 

Many of their questions referred to the exercise of 
prayer, for punctual attendance to which they have 
been uniformly distinguished. Prayer for Divine direc- 
tion accompanied their earliest inquiries on the subject 
of religion: and when in any district even two or three 
were desirous of becoming the disciples of Jesus 
Christ, they were accustomed to associate together 
for this purpose. Private prayer has long been almost 
universal, as well as the practice of imploring a bless- 
ing on their food ; and although they at first asked 
whether they must not learn to pray in the English 
language 1 whether God would not be angry if they 
should use incorrect expressions in prayer ] or whether 
when they had retired to their gardens, or the bushes 
adjacent to their dwellings, and were there engaged in 
prayer, their attention should be diverted by an intruder, 
they should leave off or continue ? Sometimes they 
would ask, whether engaging in conversation and pray- 
ing with very wicked persons, such as had been mur- 
derers, &c, would not appear in some degree sanction- 
ing or extenuating their crimes ? With more frequency, 
however, and greater eagerness, they often inquired 
how they could prevent evil thoughts arising in their 
minds during seasons of devotion — how they could 
avoid repeating words of prayer unattended by devo- 
tional desires — and how they could at all times engage 
the heart in this exercise ? I recollect a father and a 
mother asking with ardent solicitude, whether it would 
be right to take their little boy or girl with them to 
the bushes or the garden, talk with it in this retirement, 
and teach it there to pray to God ! Prayer in their 
families was regularly observed ; and among the many 
inquiries in reference to this subject, it was once asked 
whether Jesus Christ had family prayer with his dis- 
ciples ; whether, in their own houses, in the event of 


the sickness or absence of the husband, the wife should 
not convene the family, and perform this important 

Portions of Scripture history and biography were 
among the most engaging subjects of inquiry, espe- 
cially those contained in the Old Testament. Those 
in the New Testament also interested them. On one 
occasion, they asked what the heavy burdens were 
that our Lord accused the scribes and Pharisees of 
binding on men's shoulders ; and what was meant by 
" Let the dead bury their dead ?" At another time they 
inquired who were the scribes, so often mentioned by 
the Saviour; and asked if they were the secretaries 
of the missionary societies in Jerusalem ? &c. This 
arose from the circumstance of the word, which in 
English is translated scribe, being in Tahitian rendered 
writer, and the secretaries of the native missionary 
societies being the only individuals among them thus 

The usages and customs prevailing among the ancient 
Jews were often topics of conversation, and more than 
once they have, -with evident sincerity, inquired if 
their repentance would not be more acceptable to God, 
were they to rend their garments, and cover their heads 
with ashes, or gird themselves with sackcloth, than 
simply expressing their penitence. This question, with 
those frequently asked relative to the consequences 
of mistakes or interruption in prayer, probably arose 
from the impression left by the system of idolatry they 
had so recently abandoned, whose only excellence 
consisted in the correctness of mere external form and 

In all their idol worship, however large or costly the 
sacrifices that had been offered, and however near its 
close the most protracted ceremony might be, if the 
priest omitted or misplaced any word in the prayers 
with which it was always accompanied, or if his atten- 
tion was diverted by any means, so that the prayer 
was hai, or broken, the whole was rendered unavailable, 
he must prepare other victims, and repeat his prayers 
from the commencement. 

The history of our first parents was frequently 
brought forward. Sometimes they wanted to know 
what was the colour of Adam and Eve's skin, or what 
language thev spoke ; with regard to the former, their 

Vol. II.— O 


opinions were in accordance with those of the late 
Bishop Heber; they said it was very likely they were 
brown or olive-coloured, and as their descendants, or 
the descendants of Noah, travelled to hotter climates, 
they became darker ; while those whose information 
had removed the belief that our colour was f ke effect 
of disease acknowledged the plausibility of our ances- 
tors having become white from the influence of cold, 
and a clouded atmosphere, whereby they were shadt d 
from the sun. 

More important matters concerning them were how- 
ever often the subjects of inquiry. They fell interested 
in their destiny, and asked whether, after the fall and 
expulsion from Paradise, they had repented and ob- 
tained pardon; and at one time, when, in answer to 
this question, it had been stated that there was reason 
to believe that they had obtained forgiwness, and were 
now in heaven, the native immediately inquired further, 
how Adam's crime could affect his posterity, after the 
guilt contracted by it had been removed even from the 
perpetrators of that crime 1 The origin of moral evil 
was sometimes introduced. It has been ask"d at 
meetings where I have been present, — Would Satan 
have tempted Eve, or would man have fallen, if God 
had not forbidden our first parents to eat of the 
fruit of the tree of knowledge l To Which it was 
answered, That if God had not made that the peculiar 
test of their obedience, Satan would bave found some 
other medium through which to tempt them to Bin. 

A man once asked, Whatcaused the angels inhi 
to sin, or Satan to become a wicked spirit 1 He 
told that pride was the cause of his fa'l, but that how 
pride entered heaven was not nve I id. Another once 
proposed the following query :— You say God is a 
holy and a powerful being, thai Satan is the c mse of a 
va^t increase of moral evil or wickednessin the world, 
by exciting or disposing men to sin. If Satan be only 
a dependent creature, and the cause of 80 much evil, 
which is displeasing to God, why does nor (;<>d kill 
Satan at once, and thereby prevent all the evil of which 
he is the author ! In answer, he was told that the facts 
of Satan's dependence on, or subjection to. the Almighty, 
and his yet being permitted to tempt men to evil, were 
undeniable from the declarations of Scripture, and the 
experience of every one accustomed to observe the 


operations of his own mind. Such an observer would 
often 'jvd himself exposed to an influence that could 
be attributed only to Satanic agency ; but that why he 
was permitted to exert this influence on man was not 
made known in the Bible. We always stated plainly 
that it was the contents of that volume which we came 
to teach them ; that the existence of this baneful and 
often fatal influence was too extensively felt to allow 
of its being questioned ; that the antidote to the evil 
it might have already inflicted, and the preservative 
against its future effects, were pointed out ; and that it 
was wiser, and far more important, to apply to those 
remedies, than to indulge in unprofitable speculations 
relative to its origin. 

The duration of sufferings inflicted on the wicked in 
the future state was occasionally introduced ; and more 
than once I have heard them ask, if none of their 
ancestors, nor any of the former inhabitants of the 
islands, had gone to heaven 1 This, to us and to them, 
was one of the most distressing discussions upon which 
we evev entered. To them it was peculiarly so ; for 
we may naturally suppose the recollection of the indi- 
viduals whom many of them had perhaps poisoned, 
murdered without provocation, slain in battle, or killed 
for sacrifice, would on these occasions forcibly recur 
to their minds ; and at these times many a parent's 
heart must have been rent with anguish, to us incon- 
ceivable, at the remembrance of those children in 
whose blood their hands had been imbrued. Besides 
these sources of intensely painful reflection, there is 
something overwhelming in the thought of relatives 
and friends removed from the world of hope and pro- 
bation having their doom irrevocably fixed ! Hence 
wt could perceive a degree of painful emotion among 
the people whenever the subject was introduced ; and 
although less intimately affected by this inquiry than 
those around us, it was to us a most appalling subject 
—one on which we could not dwell with composure. 
This feeling on their parts, also, has been at times 
almost overpowering, and has either suspended our 
conversation, or induced an abrupt transition to some 
other topic. 

This is a most distressing consideration, and is a 
subject often brought before a missionary's mind, from 
the circumstances into which his engagements lead 
O 2 


him, and the intimate connexion of his every effort 
with the future and eternal destinies of those around 
him ; while it furnishes, next to the love of Christ, 
one of the most powerful incentives to devotedness 
and unabated effort. Well might one now engaged in 
this work exclaim, " Five hundred millions of souls,* 
who j're represented as being unenlightened! I cannot, 
if I would, give up the idea of being a missionary, while 
I reflect upon this vast number of my fellow-sinners, 
who are perishing for lack of knowledge. ' Five hun- 
dred millions !' intrudes itself upon my mind wherever I 
go, and however 1 an) employed. When I go to bed, it is 
the last thing that recurs to my memory ; if I awake 
in the night, it is to meditate upon it alone; and in 
the morning, it is generally the first thing that occu- 
pies my thoughts." 

What mind, under the influence of the unequivocal 
declarations of the sacred volume, and an acquaintance 
with the true condition of the heathen, can calndy 
entertain the thought of the millions who remain 
ignorant of the gospel ' 

We always told those who inquired, that it was not 
for us to say what was the actual state of the departed ; 
that of those who died in infancy we were permitted 
to cherish the consolatory hope of their felicity ; that 
those who survived infancy had not been without the 
admonitions of conscience, which had borne a faithful 
testimony to the character of all their actions ; and 
that, on the evidence of that witness they would be 
acquitted or convicted at the bar of God. At the same 
time assuring them, that whatever crimes they might 
have to answer for, rejection of the gospel would not 
be one ; though this would, perhaps, involve the hea- 
viest condemnation on their descendants, if by them 
that gospel was neglected or despised. 

Many of their inquiries related to the proper observ- 
ance of the Sabbath, and under what circumstances it 
would be proper to launch a canoe or undertake a 
voyage 1 This resulted from the king's sister being 
taken ill at Afareaitu, while we were residing there ; 
and the natives wishing to send word to her relations, 
but hesitating because it was the Sabbath. A man 
once came and said, that while he was attending public 

* It is estimated that there are more than six hundred millions destitute of 
tile knowledge of the gospel. « 


worship, a pig broke into his garden; that on his return 
he saw hhn devouring the sweet potatoes, sugar-cane, 
taro, and other productions, in which pine-apples were 
probably included, but that he did not drive it out, 
because he was convinced it would immediately return, 
unless he repaired the broken fence, and that he sup- 
posed was a kind of labour prohibited on the Sabbath. 
He therefore allowed the pig to remain till he was 
satisfied, and did not mend the fence till the following 
morning. He however wished to know, and the peo- 
ple in general were evidently interested in the inquiry, 
whether, in the event of a similar occurrence at any 
future period, he should do wrong in driving out the 
animal, and repairing the fence. He was told that the 
most secure way would be to keep the fence in good 
repair ; but that if pigs should break in on the Sabbath, 
they ought by all means to be driven out, and the 
breaches they had made so far repaired as to secure 
the enclosure till the following day. A chief of Hua- 
hine once asked me whether it would be right, suppos- 
ing he were walking in his garden on that day, and saw 
ripe plantains hanging from the trees that grew by the 
side of the path, to gather and eat them \ I answered, 
that I thought it would not be wrong. " I felt inclined 
to do so," said he, " last Sabbath, when walking in my 
garden, but on reflecting that I had other fruit ready 
plucked and prepared, I hesitated, — not because I be- 
lieved it would be in itself sinful, but lest my attendants 
should notice it, and do so too, and it should become 
a general practice with the people to go to their 
gardens, and gather fruit to eat on the Sabbath, which 
would be unfavourable to the proper observance of 
that day." 

Their inquiries referred not only to historical, bio- 
graphical, and other facts connected with the sacred 
volume, but to those relating to other nations of the 
earth. The extent of territory, number of inhabitants, 
colour, language, religion, of the different countries of 
whom they had heard from occasional visiters, were 
topics of conversation at these meetings, together with 
the efforts of Christians to propagate the gospel among 
them. But the most interesting of these referred to 
England ; and although their recollections of Captain 
Cook were generally more indistinct, and very different 
from those entertained by the Sandwich islanders, he 
was often alluded to ; and we were asked if any mer^- 


bersof his family still survived, and whether they would 
ever come to the islands. The cities, towns, houses, 
carriages, dress, and manners of the English, the royal 
state of King George, the numbers in his army, the 
evolutions of his troops, the laws of the kingdom, the 
punishment of crimes, the principles of commerce, and 
the extent and variety of manufactures, were at different 
times brought forward. 

Numbers of the natives had indeed visited England, 
but their observation had been so limited, or their ac- 
counts so contradictory and exaggerated, that their coun- 
tryman knew not what to believe, and not unfrequently, 
when any of these had returned, the substance of their 
reports was brought to the questioning meeting, to 
receive our confirmation or explanation. The religious 
character and observances of the English were usually 
matters of great interest. The dimensions and number 
of our cathedrals, churches, and chapels, the size of the 
congregations, the proportion of the population that 
attended public worship, and the order of the services, 
were often topics of inquiry. The experience of those 
who were true Christians in England was also intro- 
duced ; and their remarks on this point, especially when 
they first became interested in the subject of religion 
themselves, were often rather amusing. " How happy 
the Christians in England must be," they would some- 
times say. — " So many teachers, so many books, the 
whole of the Bible in their language, and no idolatry, 
they must have little else to do but to praise God. 
Their crimes have never been like ours ; they never 
offered human sacrifices, murdered their infants, &c. 
Dc they ever repent! have they any thing to repent 
of?" It was, however, only those who were recently 
awakened to a sense of the enormity of these crimes, 
and were but very partially informed as to the true state 
of England, that ever asked such questions as these. 

The doctrine of the resurrection of the body has ever 
appeared to them, as it did when announced by the 
apostle to the civilized philosophers of Athens, or the 
august rulers in the Roman hall of judgment, as a fact 
astounding or incredible. Of another world, and the 
existence of the soul in that world after the dissolution 
of the body, they appear at all times to have entertained 
some indistinct ideas ; but the. reanimation of the moul- 
dering bodies of the dead never seems, even in their 
wildest llights of imagination, to have occurred to them. 


When first declared by the missionaries, it merely 
awakened astonishment, and was considered as one 
among the many novel and striking facts connected with 
the doctrines which the new religion unfolded. But as 
the subject was more frequently brought under their no- 
tice in public discourse, or in reading the Scriptures, and 
their minds were more attentively exercised upon it in 
connexion with their ancestry, themselves, and their 
descendants, it appeared invested with more than ordi- 
nary difficulty ; bordering, to their apprehension, on 
impossibility. On this, as well as other equally import- 
ant points, their queries, from native simplicity and 
entire ignorance, were sometimes both puerile and 

A number of the attendants on the queen's sister, 
soon after their reception of Christianity, came to the 
meeting, and stated that one of their friends had died a 
few days before, and that they had buried the corpse 
according to their ancient manner, not laying it straight 
in a coffin, as Christians were accustomed to do, but 
placing it in a sitting posture, with the face between 
the knees, the hands under the thighs, and the whole 
body bound round with cords. Since the interment, 
(they added), they had been thinking about the resur- 
rection, and wished to know how the body would then 
appear, whether, if left in that manner, it would not rise 
deformed, and whether they had not better disinter the 
corpse, and deposite it in a straight or horizontal position. 
A suitable reply was of course returned. They were 
directed to let it remain undisturbed — that probably long 
before the resurrection it would be so completely dis- 
solved, and mingled with the surrounding earth, that no 
trace would be left of the form in which it had been 

Questions of this kind were only presented during 
the first stages of their Christian progress, and they 
were not frequent. In general their inquiries were 
exceedingly interesting. The time when, the means 
by which, the attending circumstances, and the manner 
of the resurrection, the recognition of friends, the iden- 
tity of the bodies of adults, and whether the souls of 
infants would be united to infant bodies, and whether 
they would be as inferior in the future state as their 
powers and faculties appeared in this, often furnished 
matter for interesting conversation. 

There were, however, other points of inquiry, pecu- 


liarly affecting to themselves. Many of their relatives 
or countrymen had been devoured by sharks ; a limb or 
large portion of the fleshy part of the body of others 
had been destroyed by these voracious fish. A constant 
attendant on these meetings at Afareaitu had, while we 
resided there, one side of his face torn oft' and eaten by 
one. The sharks that had eaten men were perhaps 
afterward caught, and became food for the natives, who 
might themselves be devoured by other Sharks. Can- 
nibalism, though some deny its having been practised 
among themselves, is supposed to have existed in one 
of the islands at least, and is known, and universally 
acknowledged, to prevail among those by which they 
are surrounded ; and it is not considered by them im- 
probable that some of their own countrymen have been 
eaten by the islanders among whom they have, from 
stress of weather, been cast. The men who had eaten 
their fellow-men might have been, and perhaps often 
were (as many of the cannibals inhabit the low coral- 
line islands, and live by fishing), eaten by sharks, which 
would sometimes be caught and eaten by the inhabitants 
of distant islands. 

After urging these and corresponding inquiries, which 
had exercised their minds, they would ask, after all 
these processes of new combination, will the original 
parts of every human body be reunited at the resurrec- 
tion 1 &c. On such occasions, the truth of the doctrine 
of the resurrection was exhibited, as demonstrated by 
the resurrection of Lazarus and of Christ; the identity 
of our Lord's body, by his subsequent intercourse with 
the disciples, especially with Thomas ; and the cer- 
tainty of the general resurrection presented, as deduced 
from the numerous and explicit declarations of Scrip- 
ture, and the reasoning of the inspired writers. The 
identity of the body was stated as being consistent with 
the character and moral government of Cod, which ap- 
peared to require that the same body which had suffered 
for or in his cause on earth should be glorified in 
heaven ; and that the same body which in union with the 
soul had been employed in rebellion and vice should 
suffer the just consequences in a future state. The de- 
clarations of Scripture on this momentous point always 
appeared satisfactory; and although the circumstances 
of the resurrection, and the manner by which parts of 
the same body would be united, &c. were inquiries pur- 
sued with deepest interest, we generally found them 


terminate in expressions of desire that they might be 
prepared, rise with glorified bodies, and come forth from 
their graves " to the resurrection of life." 

Questions similar to those started by these untutored 
islanders have frequently been agitated among the 
learned in the ethical schools of Europe ; and our most 
subtle casuists have found no easy task in obviating the 
difficulties which they involve. Even the changes 
which the body naturally undergoes in its present mor- 
tal state militate against the supposition, that every 
atom once vitally united to the common mass will be 
included in the body that shall be hereafter, and direct 
us to admit that the resurrection must be consistent 
with innumerable mutations. Hence we are taught to 
infer, that while the identity of personality is preserved, 
the fluctuations which take place in the numerical par- 
ticles, and in the modification of them, in our present 
bodies, can offer no impediment to the credibility of this 
momentous doctrine. 

In connexion with this subject, and others of a simi- 
lar kind, the most important referred to what might be 
called their Christian experience — the effect of texts of 
Scripture committed to memory, in stimulating to duty, 
and restraining from sin. Often they would ask, " How 
can we attain true repentance, and a change of heart ? 
How may we know that we are not deceiving our- 
selves ? How can we be preserved from forsaking God 
and committing sin! We desire genuine faith; where 
can we obtain it?" Once they observed, "Adam fell in 
Paradise, and angels fell even in heaven itself; how 
then can we be preserved from sinning against God \ 
Tell us how we may be safe from Satan 1 — how we may 
be safe for heaven, and secure of admission there V I 
refrain from comments on the numerous inquiries 
brought forward at these meetings, which have been 
proved essentially serviceable to the nation, stimulating 
inquiry, giving a proper direction to their search after 
truth, expanding and strengthening the mind, yet re- 
straining them within the limits of revelation. Their 
inquiries show, if evidence were wanting, that their 
mental capabilities are not contemptible, and demon- 
strate the influence of the highest order of Christian 
principles upon the mind and the heart. 



Church of Jesus Christ oj Latter-day SairHi 

■■'i Last South Temfife St.